USCIS Confirms that Delays in Approving I-751s Will Continue
During a stakeholders teleconference yesterday, USCIS confirmed that processing times for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, would continue to slow down as the agency intensifies its efforts to identify marriage fraud. The Form I-751 is filed by spouses of US citizens either jointly with their spouse who sponsored them for permanent residence or individually if the marriage has ended or other hardship exists.
Previously, I-751s were adjudicated within a year, but processing times are now reaching up to 20 months. As a result, USCIS has started issuing 18-month extensions (as opposed to 12-month extension) of the two-year conditional green card with the receipt notice for the filing of the Form I-751. If the automatic extension is nearing expiry and the Form I-751 still has not been adjudicated, getting another extension at the local USCIS office will be necessary for purposes of preserving employment authorization and ability to travel internationally.
USCIS also confirmed that individuals who are waiting for their I-751s to be adjudicated could apply for naturalization when they reach their three-year anniversary as a permanent resident. Spouses of US citizens are eligible for naturalization after three years as a permanent resident whereas all other lawful permanent residents have to wait at least five years. The fact that the I-751 has not been adjudicated yet is not a bar to applying for naturalization. Although this will result in two pending cases with the agency (and possibly the same adjudicator), it should not cause any additional delay or confusion.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you would like to discuss this development further, please contact us.