If you are a conditional citizen, this means you are required to renew the conditions of your residence each year. This can be a worrisome process for some, as their future here is not totally secure. However, if a non-citizen were to marry a U.S. citizen, he or she will very often apply for citizenship through an I-751 Petition.
What is the function of an I-751 Petition?
Essentially, if you marry a U.S. citizen, you can submit an I-751 Petition, which is a Petition to Remove Conditions on Your Residence. If you are eligible and apply, you are granted residence on a conditional basis for 2 years. However, if a U.S. citizen sponsors a spouse where the marriage at the time of the adjustment status was more than two years old, the conditional status will be waived and a 10-year Permanent Resident Card is issued. There are exceptions to several immigration laws, so it is important that you contact an experienced, compassionate lawyer today. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of immigration law may drastically increase your chances of gaining citizenship.
What happens if you do not submit an I-751 Petition?
When the 2-year period is over, the permanent residence automatically expires, and the applicant is subject to deportation. This can be an extremely unnerving experience, so you must make sure you file Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 90 days or less before your conditional residence expires. However, keep in mind you can only do this if the conditional permanent residence was obtained through marriage. If your conditional permanent residence was obtained through investment to have the conditions removed, then you must file Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. After submitting either Petition, permanent residence is extended in 1-year increments until your request to remove conditions is approved or denied.
What evidence must you provide in order to prove you are making a valid claim?
If your application is based on marriage, then you may submit your children’s birth certificates, joint financial statements, or letters from employers, friends and relatives. The courts will want to ensure that your marriage is a real marriage, and not a fraudulent one. If you are not making a valid claim, then there is a good chance they will find out. A follow-up interview between both spouses and an immigration officer is sometimes required, but this interview may be waived if you provide sufficient evidence backing your claim.
What do you do once you are a permanent resident?
You must carry your green card with you at all times, and failing to do so is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This can result in a fine of up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days for each offense. You should know that only the federal government can impose penalties–not individual states.
Contact our experienced Wisconsin law firm
If the grounds of your permanent residence are in question, do not waste time, and speak with an attorney you can trust today. We understand what your citizenship means to you, and we will fight tenaciously for your path to citizenship.
John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.