inside immigration information about marriage green cards and work visas in America


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Marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the fastest ways for a foreign national to get their green card (permanent residency), which also applies to same sex couples. This is because, unlike other family based green cards, there is no limit to the number of marriage green cards the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) may issue each year.

Of course the American government is fully aware of the fact that sometimes people get married to avoid having to return to their home country. In order to discourage “sham marriages” the American government imposes harsh penalties on those who commit marriage fraud. The consequence to a U.S. Citizen is a fine up to $250,000, conviction of a federal felony, and up to 5 years in prison. The consequence to a foreign national is deportation and no green card – ever.

One of the ways the American government tries to discover marriage fraud is by checking on the marriage after two years have passed by making marriage green card holders file an I-751 Petition. If a couple is married less than two years at the time of their green card interview, the green card (also known as I-551 Card) is issued with a validity date of only two years.

In order to test if a green card through marriage is real, the USCIS requires the couple to file an I-751 Petition before the two year green card has expired. A new marriage is hard enough, no matter what age you are. Add cultural differences and children from previous marriages and although rewarding, the relationship takes work. On top of that, the newly married couple has to prove to the American government that they are really married through the filing of this I-751 Petition.


Because they are busy, many couples do not read the I-751 instructions thoroughly and fail to submit enough “proof of marriage” documents along with their I-751 Petition and therefore are required to go to a second green card interview to prove that their marriage is valid or “bona fide.”

The second green card interview can be easily avoided through the careful preparation of the I-751 Petition supporting documents. Even though the I-751 Petition is only two pages long and simple to fill out, the USCIS expects you to submit numerous “proof of marriage” documents along with it.

If you don’t submit enough documents with the I-751 Petition, or the right type of documents, the USCIS will schedule a second green card I-751 interview to question you and your spouse about the validity of your marriage. The second green card interview is easily avoided when the I-751 Petition is submitted correctly.

The legal standard for the government’s review of the I-751 documents is “whether substantial evidence supports a finding by clear and convincing evidence that a couple intended to establish a life together at the time they were married.”

There are hundreds of Immigration Court cases where Immigration Judge’s issue legal opinions concerning how many and what types of documents meet the legal standard and regrettably, because each case is different, there is no definitive list. For example, many couples think that the marriage certificate is proof of a real marriage, but in the eyes of the Immigration Judges’ the marriage certificate is not at all the type of evidence they are looking for to prove that a couple “intended to establish a life together.”

The documents that carry the most weight are jointly filed tax returns, joint bank statements (the balance doesn’t matter), proof of medical insurance, proof of life insurance, joint car registration, joint car insurance, joint ownership or rental of property, affidavits (statements), and of course babies born to the couple (children’s birth certificates). The documents should range over the span of at least two years (longer is better if possible).

For example, in the case of bank statements, choose two or three for each year (be careful about printing your online statement because it usually doesn’t have your names, address and bank account number on it). The new couple is proving that they live together, take care of each other financially, and care about each other personally.

Many other documents such as proof of joint utility bills, mail from friends and relatives (be sure to save the envelopes as well as the cards or letters to prove how it was addressed and what date it was sent), airline tickets for trips the couple took, and receipts from the wedding and reception are good too. The goal is to turn in an I-751 Petition package that is at least one inch thick and to make sure everything is copied on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper (copies are o.k.!) – imagine trying to keep all of those odd shaped receipts and envelopes in a file.

Do not put documents in protective plastic sleeves (the Officer will have to spend a lot of time taking them out!) or put a fancy cover on the documents. Don’t put the documents in a nice notebook. Do the reviewing Officer a favor and turn in a neatly prepared package that can be two hole punched at the top and placed in your official USCIS file.

Photographs also carry a lot of weight in terms of evidence of a bona fide marriage. In today’s society with camera cell phones, it is very suspicious if there are not a lot of photos. Select 30-50 photographs spanning a two year period (or more) and put them in chronological order. Keep in mind that practically speaking, the reviewing USCIS Officer does not have an easy way to put 4″ x 6″ original photographs in your file, and doesn’t have time to put the photos in order or look on the back of each one for the date, place, and name of people in the photo. reviewing Officer would like to see 30-50 photos copied on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, with the specifics (who is in the photo, where it was taken, and when it was taken) written neatly under each photograph. The photos can either be copied in black & white or color on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper at a place like Kinko’s, or printed out of your computer.

Be sure to include photos of your wedding (no matter how small it was!), holidays with each others’ friends and family, and photos taken in random places. Don’t worry if you don’t look good in the photos – the Officer is expecting to see the couple in a variety of situations (dinners, hiking, vacation, just sitting on the couch, etc.) and is not looking for a lot of “posed” glamorous scenarios.

In a real marriage, there should be candid unplanned photos. By the way, it is not a good idea to submit photos from the bedroom (if you know what I mean!) or partying heavily in bars.

Avoid the second green card I-751 interview by either having an Immigration Lawyer review your I-751 Petition (and attached documents) prior to submitting it to the USCIS, or having them prepare, submit and represent you and your spouse throughout the I-751 Petition processing, which can take up to one year.

Immigration lawyers specialize in different areas, so search for an Immigration Lawyer who routinely handles I-751 Petition matters and constantly reviews the Immigration Judge’s I-751 opinions.

If you choose not to seek an Immigration Attorney’s legal advice, be sure to at least make a copy of the I-751 Petition package before mailing it (use the U.S. postal service for mailing, and be sure to request tracking) so that if later the I-751 Petition is questioned, or you are requested to appear for an I-751 interview, you will have a copy to show an Immigration Attorney.

92 comments on “WHAT TO FILE WITH I-751 PETITION

  1. Alicia
    November 11, 2013

    Hi, My husband and I have been moving about 4 times during our two year period. The reason was his changing work and then we had also an issue with our apartment that basically was becoming really bad- everything was breaking down and we decided to move. Now we are staying in one place for almost a year, we have a lease and everything but my husband wants to rent another place so that we have two places in both our names. The reason is that his son lives upstate and it is easier to rent something there than to pay for a hotel every time. Last time we went there everything was booked so we had to drive around for 2 hours to find any place to sleep. Would this cause any problem and in this case do we need to show two leases? Shall we write a letter explaining this situation as well?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 13, 2013

      Dear Alicia,

      I find it is best to designate one household as the primary “marriage household” and submit joint documents proving that you both live there. In other words, the addresses on all the joint documents attached to the I-751 (lease, tax, bank, photo of you both standing in front, photo of family having thanksgiving dinner, etc.) should match the address on the I-751 petition.

      If you have a second residence (perhaps one spouse works out of town, or goes to school in another city, and a place to stay is needed) in most cases it would be confusing to include it with the I-751. How does including evidence about having a second residence prove you live together in the first residence?

      In other words, it is ok for a married couple to have two residences, but the purpose of the I-751 is to submit information about living together in one of them. Therefore, I would tend not to include information with the I-751 about a second residence. However, in special circumstances too complicated to mention here, I have included info about a second residence when it made legal sense to me.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  2. Heath
    November 5, 2013

    Hello, my question is as to the need of sending sworn affidavits from friends/family. How necessary are they? Are they mainly for people that don’t have too many other documents? In my case, I will be submitting the following:

    1. A deed, showing co-ownership of our home
    2. Bills, some in my name and some in hers, both with our same address
    3. Copies of health insurance cards
    4. Health insurance with both names on policy and life insurance with my wife as beneficiary
    5. 401K and pension plan with wife listed as beneficiary
    6. Bank accounts with both of your names on them.
    7. A copy of your 2 years of joint tax returns.
    8. Documentation of 6 flights that we have taken
    9. 40-50 photos from trips and home, including photos with family and friends and print-off of our Facebook pages showing married and location.
    10. Proof of wedding including ring receipts, reception hall rental, catering bill, wedding invitation, marriage certificate.

    Also, we have a trip coming up and are wondering if it is okay to travel with the initial letter from USCIS stating that the Green Card has been extended for 1 year?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 6, 2013

      Dear Heath,

      Sorry I don’t have your complete history so I cannot answer your question about the amount of I-751 evidence that is appropriate for your case.

      Yes it is ok to travel abroad and re-enter the USA using your I-751 Receipt, expired green card, and valid passport. The immigration officers at the airport seem to be very familiar with the I-751 receipts.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  3. scott
    October 30, 2013

    hi my wife and i are ready to send in our i751 ROC package and it appears very complete with lots of documents. One item im not sure on the form itself is the “list all children”. we are older and her children are older and living in asia in various countries and not involved with this case at all. Should we still be listing her children?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 1, 2013

      Dear Scott:

      “List all children”to me simply means “list all children.” Since the question doesn’t specify “if they live in the USA” or “only if they are children” or “only if they are involved in this case” I interpret the question to mean “list all children” no matter what their age or location or whether they are involved in the I-751 case.

      I’m not sure why everyone has such an issue with this question – can anyone tell me?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Yana
        November 9, 2013

        Hello Danielle,
        I have similar question because when I filed for divorce I had to list children from the marriage, so that makes me think that I have to list children only from this marriage. I have I751 pending, was scheduled for interview, but couldn’t appear because I was out of the country. I am waiting for another date, but I got a divorce on Oct 18, and now I have to file I751 waiver, but I have a child from another person, so should I list her too ? She was born after I filed I751. And should I file it now or bring it with me to the interview, so right officer can get my form ? I would appreciate your answer.

        • immigrationworkvisa
          November 13, 2013

          Dear Yana,

          Sorry, but your case is now to complicated for me to try to give you advice in a free blog format.

          For others reading her questions, the I-751 asks for ALL children so you would list all the children on the I-751.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

          • Yana
            November 13, 2013

            Thank you a lot for your respond !

  4. Debra
    October 28, 2013

    Hello – We received a letter saying they needed more information after we submitted the I 75 form. We don’t have a lot in both of our names besides the lease and car insurance -We are just currently getting health insurance together so we can send that in along with affidavits which we didn’t include the first time. We are going to put each others names on the car registration. Is it too late to just now open a joint checking account after 2 years of marriage? Also I filed as head of household on my tax return -Should I get this amended to married filing single?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 1, 2013

      Dear Debra,

      I highly recommend getting as many joint account documents as possible, even if they are dated today. If at all possible your tax returns should be filed in the category of married filing jointly.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  5. Leila
    October 17, 2013

    Hi, I have a question about the part that you have to list your children on form I-751. I know it says list all your children, but both of mine are US citizens and there is only space to put an A-Number and the instructions are a little confusing on that. I read other blogs where people had problems listing their US citizen children. Should I list them or is it just for conditional resident children?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 22, 2013

      Dear Leila,

      The I-751 form states “list all your children.” Therefore you should list all your children whether they have an A number or not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  6. kiki
    October 2, 2013

    I have question that i have applied and signed a marriage license with my ex. However things didnt work out right after that so we stopped everything. We didnt have marriage certificate, filling for petition yet. Since i am non us citizen, i am worried that if i get married later on, like 2 or 3 years later, i will be suspected huhu. I heard rumors from friends that i have to prove the first marriage was real. Its impossible since we havent legally married. I had pictures with my ex only. We planned to get married first, then have joint bank statement, insurance together later. So thats quite tough to prove since we havent started anything. I also heard that i had to have child for 2nd marriage or my paperwork include green card interview will be postone forever. What if me
    and my future husband just want to get married,no kids yet, what can i do now to prevent my first applying marriage license from affecting my paperwork later?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 4, 2013

      Dear Kiki,

      If you were never married, the marriage license just expired and there is no marriage on record. Therefore you don’t have to prove anything about the first relationship because it was never a legal “marriage”). There is nothing you need to do about that first marriage license because it expired.

      Having a child is not necessary to prove a valid marriage. I recommend that you check the rules again when you are ready to get married again.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  7. NG
    September 28, 2013

    Hi, I hold a conditional GC.It’s almost time to file for my I-751. My husband and I live with his parents. So, we don’t have any rent/utility bills in our name.My husband is in school and he only works part time.We don’t have any join bank accounts/credit cards.We’ve no children yet.Our car is in my husband’s name.We filed our tax return last year as married filing separately.
    The only evidence that I can show are:
    – My husband is a dependent on my medical insurance provided by my employer.
    – We also have plenty of pictures and our marriage certificate.
    – Can provide affidavits.
    I’m afraid that these will not be enough.
    Any help is appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 4, 2013

      Hi NG,

      You will need to work harder to find more documents to include with your I-751. Come on, get creative! You can do it! In addition to the suggestions you made above, here are some more suggestions:

      1. Ask his parents to write a letter confirming how long you have both lived at their house in a marriage relationship, and confirming that they pay both the rent and utility bills.

      2. Borrow $10 and open a joint bank account. The amount of money in the joint bank account does not matter.

      3. Tell your husband to add your name on the car registration.

      4. Get a copy of your husband’s school loan application and school application that show he is married.

      5. Print out each of your facebook profile pages showing you are married and what city you live in.

      6. Make copies of every piece of mail you get with both of your names on it, along with a copy of the envelope it came in, which will show the date, both your names, and your address. Even if it is for a credit card denial, it is proof you live together at the same address.

      7. Keep going! you are smart and can think of more!

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • NG
        November 5, 2013

        Thank you so much, Danielle 🙂 Big help.I also have air tickets and hotel reservations from our vacations.

  8. Dawn
    September 20, 2013

    I have a short question I hope you can help me with. I am helping my brother and his wife. They have to go to an interview for their I-751 form. When it comes to arrest records are they talking about the US Citizen, the Spouse, or both. We just need to know if we have to include my brothers arrest records. Any help would be wonderful. Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 24, 2013

      Dear Dawn,

      They are allowed to ask for both.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  9. Mira
    September 12, 2013

    Hello. I have two questions. I believe you can give ne an advice. I have to send the pack of documents for the second 10years greencard in December.
    1. Taxes.. We have an extension. But ee have to pay taxes till oct, 15th.. If we pay it together it’s gonna be a lot of money! If we pay separately we can save a lot.. Is it ok if we fill it as married filling separately? If yes, can you give me an idea if I need to write an explanation why we did this way.. Can I just write that we want to save money. Is it ok?
    2. I was arrested on march. Shoplifting.. I m stupid, I know.. I still don’t know how it happened. $8.. I don’t have any papers from the court.. But the judge said that in 6 month it will disappear from my record.. My hubby doesn’t know about it, it’s my secret:. It was in nYC. Do I have to mention about it in the form? If yes, do I have to attach some papers from the court? If I will send all the info, is it going to be a reason to ask us for an interview? Many thanks, hope you can help me with the answers… Mira

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 13, 2013

      Dear Mira,

      1. In most cases it is ok to file taxes “married filing separately.” Submit both tax returns with the same address. I say in most cases because for couples who live separately a lot (perhaps one is in a special internship and the other can’t leave their job) it raises too many questions. But if you have lived together for the entire time you are married and have plenty of proof of living together, it should be ok. It is a good idea to write a short note about why you filed separately, signed by both of you.

      2. Yes you will need to submit the paperwork about the shoplifting with the I-751. But which documents? Go to the court and ask for copies of your paperwork. Take the paperwork to an immigration attorney in your state and ask them to look at it and ask them if it will be a problem for your 10 year green card or your citizenship. Immigration attorneys normally charge $150 – $250 to provide a written legal consultation. They also should be able to tell you which court papers to attach to the I-751 and which ones to attach to your citizenship application and whether they think you will be interviewed for your I-751 or not. It doesn’t matter if the judge says it will disappear from “your record” in 6 months – the Dept. of Homeland Security will still know because the FBI record shows all of our arrests. The judge is only talking about your “local record” not your national FBI record.

      Kind regards and stay strong, Danielle Nelisse

      P.S. You are going to have to tell your husband. This happens a lot and he needs to be an understanding husband – I’m sure he makes mistakes occasionally too! No one is perfect.

  10. Martin
    August 28, 2013

    Hi, my wife and I are getting ready to turn in our paperwork for I751. My question is that we filed our last two income tax returns as jointly, however my filing status is still single. If forgot to change it for both years. Will this pose an issue?

  11. L
    June 18, 2013

    Hello, my conditional green card is expiring on sept.14,2013 my question is, is it ok to file my papers for removal of condition on july or august? or the early the better? and also i have a pending case of retail theft, should i attach any document regarding it or not since its still pending in court? thank you

  12. Anonymous
    June 6, 2013

    Hello, I submitted the I-751 application last week and it returned to me saying it is too early and not in the 90 days time frame yet. I understand this part, but what I’d like to ask is that, should I resend all the returned papers back as it is within the 90 days period or I have to recopy and sign everything? All returned paper has matching puncher holes on it already. Any advice would help, thanks.


  13. Tiffany
    May 16, 2013

    My husband and I filed separate tax returns (married filing separately) for the last 2 years because it made more financial sense due to my income-based student loan repayment plan. Now we are filing form I-751. Will it look suspicious that we’ve filed taxes separately? Should we include a brief letter stating the reason for filing separately and include it with our tax return?

  14. Mistreated citizen
    April 11, 2013

    I am now suspect that my spouse has been planning to take advantage of me for the permanent residency (we are married now 3 years and I never suspected it until recently) and I have some proof which may indicate that in recent months there has been a plan to just put up with our bad marriage in order to get through the I-751 process and get the valuable green card. It has now dawned on me that there are a few other things my spouse pushed and pushed and pushed for — to an uncomfortable point — over the time frame that my spouse has been on the CR1 and here in the USA, such as a joint bank account (when there has never been any intention on my spouse’s part to really share that account and contribute to it and be a team), both names on the title of one of our cars, and our apartment lease. Now, obviously perhaps, my spouse has been completely rude, selfish, unpredictable, etc., and not a partner as a normal marriage should be.

    Is it possible to somehow make sure that my spouse is NOT granted the right to stay here (after which point I would file for divorce…or should I file before the I751)? It seems they can file the waivers, get affidavits of support from friends, etc., and do this just fine if I refuse to support the I751 and/or even file for divorce first against me. It seems it is possible, too, for a person to get a local social service agency and friends to make bogus affidavits claiming abuse, etc., etc., in order for my spouse to stay.

    Also, is there any recourse to get my ex-spouse (if I file for it after the I751 goes in) un-approved/rejected during the 6-8 month process?

    So, again, contrary to what most of your comment posts ask for, I would like to know if it is possible to prevent someone from getting the permanent residency.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 21, 2013

      Dear Mistreated:

      Sorry, but we only help foreign nationals get their paperwork approved.

      Kind regards,

      Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney

    • tonia
      September 5, 2013

      Hi, I am in your shoes and have the same questions. Was wondering you were able to find any answers? It seems like the foreign nationals have more options and rights than we do as US citizens. I came across your post and am hoping you may give me some light and direction. Thanks, sadly used in Miami

  15. Anonymous
    March 3, 2013

    Thanks for all that great information. I have a quick question , we live with my husbands parents, I am getting ready to file for the I-751 and I was just wondering if it will be an issue for us not sending in evidence of a lease or mortgage with both of our names, every other document we do have such as tax returns, insurance, bank account etc…
    Thanks again

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear Anonymous,

      when you have plenty of other evidence of living together, it is usually not a problem to file the I-751 without a lease or rental agreement. Another option is to have the parents sign a rental agreement with you and/or ask the parents to sign a statement verifying that you live with them.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Lisa
        June 7, 2013

        Hello now my question is I have everything except the joint taxes together. We have 3 kids together I have more then enough pictures, bank accounts, phones, auto and health insurance, credit cards together bills together, the only thing is on the taxes we didnt do it jointly. do you think i should send in the taxes anyways thought not done jointly because I have enough documentation or should I not send them and see if I get approved without the taxes? should I send my W-2 its shows that we live at same address but my W-2 doesnt have married on it either. I like to make sure I dont pay back taxes.

  16. J
    February 11, 2013

    Hi I am filing I751I have one misdemeaonor (disorderly conduct) involves domesitc violence, and another charge that is pending of class B misdemeanor involving shoplifting. I know I have to stay out of trouble from now on. I am attaching a certified copy of the first misdemeanor from the court. The second one i havent been should I attach something abouth the second charge since it is still pending? Do you think immigration would deny my green card because of these two charges?
    I forgot to mention I am still living happily with my wife that is a US citizen, and have enough proof of our bonafide marriage. Thanks for your response.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear J,

      In your case you should not rely on free blog advice. Please take your court paperwork to an immigration attorney and pay them to look at them and give you a legal opinion.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  17. Jari
    January 4, 2013

    My husband was supposed to file his I-751 in Dec. 2012 to fall in the 90 days period but we did not have the money to do it. We are filing them now Jan. 2013. His green card expires on March2013. What happens if it expires before he gets approved??

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear Jari:

      The I-751 is not due 90 days before the green card expires.The I-751 is due ANYTIME during the 90 day period before the green card expires. In other words, the I-751 can be submitted one day before the green card expires.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Anonymous
        August 30, 2013

        K thanks

  18. Amanda
    January 4, 2013

    First, what a fantastic blog! Thank you for helping people like this! 🙂

    My Australian-citizen husband is in the US on his conditional green card, which expires July 2013. At the time of our original adjustment interview, we were married less than 2 years, so my husband’s green card was conditional. At the end of our interview, the immigration officer told us to file our I-751 sometime around March or April. However, looking at the processing timelines as of today, it appears the Vermont office is only now getting to March 5, 2012??!

    How early am I allowed to file? Is there such a thing as “too early”? Or do I file in the time frame he said and my husband will be okay (not placed under deportation status) as long as they accept the petition submission?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear Amanda:

      You may file his I-751 up to 90 days early. That does not mean that you have to file the I-751 90 days early. In other words, applicants can file their I-751 anytime during the 90 day period before their 2 year green card expires.

      One time I asked a client for permission to file an I-751 91 days early and they said yes. The I-751 was sent back to me because we mailed it one day early.

      There is an exception. If the I-751 is being sent with a waiver request and final divorce, there are circumstances when it can be submitted early.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  19. Jason
    November 28, 2012

    Thank you very much for the thoughtful and generous article. I also appreciate the commentary. I am a U.S. citizen in the process of filing jointly the I-751 with my wife. I have definitely added some things and refined our petition after reading. Thanks again.

  20. Aleksia
    November 13, 2012

    I have 6 month before filing I-751 petition and my question is whether it is possible to get lligal divorce before as our marriage doesn’t go so well a while ago after 2 years of being married and we don’t leave together anymore.
    I have my own life right now and planning get remarried and have family. Is there a chance to get divorce having still permanent green card and reapply for permanent residence ?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 4, 2013

      Dear Aleksia:

      Yes, for some people it is possible to get a divorce and still keep the green card. I would have to ask you a lot of personal questions that I cannot do on a public blog. Feel free to email me or call me to get some answers. I don’t charge for the call or email.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  21. Eleonora Petzelt
    October 4, 2012


    I got married to my husband Jan 22th of 2009 in Florida. In our married i got very sick and needed surgery what would cost him over $25000. He refused to pay for it and told me that my family should take care of it. So I flew in July to Germany got my surgery and had to stay 3 Months there to recover.

    After I come back from Germany in October he filed for divorce.
    We got officel divorced in Febuary of 2010.

    I send all my 751 paperwork as a Waiver in March of 2010.
    This year in January i reseived a letter , that they need more prove of my married.
    October 2th i had on interview for removing the condition ….
    I got asked a lot of questions. Which i all answered.

    I’m since 2 years in a new relationship, i have a good payed job, a car and a new life .

    The worker told me that i have now to wait a months for the decision.

    Can they still denied me, after all the proof and the interview?

    Thank you for your help.

    Eleonora Petzelt

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 5, 2012

      Dear Eleonora:

      Sorry, but I don’t know exactly what proof you submitted or how you answered the questions at the interview, so I cannot answer your question about whether the officer would deny your case. However, in general the officers are allowed to make the decision to deny anyone.

      If they do intend to deny your I-751 case, you should receive a letter letting you know the officer intends to deny your case, giving you another opportunity to respond. Also, your case may be forwarded (at your request, and for a fee) to a director, an immigration judge and the board of immigration appeals before the decision is final.

      Kind regards, Danielle

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 8, 2012

      Hi again Eleonora:

      There is no way for any immigration attorney to tell you whether your I-751 petition will be approved or not. Now that you did the entire case without professional help, the only thing to do is wait for the answer. Sorry I can’t be of more help or more encouraging than that. I deleted your last comment because it’s probably not a good idea to have your personal information on the internet.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  22. Curios George
    July 9, 2012

    My wife and I were called in for a second interview, where we were interviewed separately, when she applied for her Green Card 2 years ago. It was a very nerve racking experience to say the least, but the application was accepted. In you experience, is it more likely we will have to go in for another interview in order for the I-751 to be approved, or because they already scrutinized us once they will approve the petition without calling us in again for a third interview?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 9, 2012

      Dear George:

      Sorry, but impossible to predict. I would expect another interview to be on the safe side and consider bringing an immigration attorney with you so that you will be treated more kindly.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  23. khan
    May 25, 2012

    hey i have a very quick question me and my wife jiontly filled I-751 and then i receive a fingerprint that what i done it too but the problem is that she left me after 3 months when we filled the petition now m very worried any legal advise to help me out this sitution thank.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 1, 2012

      Dear Khan:

      Unfortunately you will need to hire an immigration attorney to advise you on how to finish your case. It is impossible to give you free blog advice in your case.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  24. Heather
    May 18, 2012

    I’m starting to gather our documents for the I-751 to remove the conditions from my husband’s green card. I felt slightly confused when I read your suggestions for bonafides when you mentioned to include wedding pictures? Should I include photos and other bonafides that have already been reviewed when we originally filed. I have a tendency to overdo/over-prepare. I’m afraid repeat information would be a strike against us.

    We have no worries about our case. I would like to have to avoid having to in for an interview if I can.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 1, 2012

      Dear Heather:
      That is a great question. Please assume that they lost everything that you already submitted and resubmit the things you already submitted. There is no guarantee the I-751 officer will find your marriage green card file in a timely manner.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  25. Sebastian
    March 5, 2012

    on April 8th, 2012 my 2-year green card will expire. We have almost everything that is required on the I751 instruction, ranging from the jointly filed tax return, car insurance with both names, house lease, but we’re missing the pictures because our computer was stolen during a burglary. My question now is if we include some pictures that we have, along with the police report about the stolen pc, and a letter explaining the situation, would there still be a problem? Also, should we include all the pictures that we already gave to them when we applied for the conditional green card? Also, do you think 30 days is enough to file form i751?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 6, 2012

      Dear Sebastian:

      Yes, explain why the photos are gone, and include a copy of the policy report. It will be up to the Immigration Officer.

      It seems that your relatives and/or friends should have photos of both of you together – have you asked them? Take more photos right now to include, they will also count. Also, do you have any photos on Facebook you can download? Yes, include the photos you already submitted again.

      Sorry, I don’t know what you mean about the 30 day question.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  26. Inab
    December 8, 2011

    First, I appreciate your free consultation.
    I have a conditional green card. I am planning to reside on campus for the coming semester (by residing I mean staying there for 2 days/week). This means I will have two lease contacts, one with my husband (my permanent address) and the dormitory lease. Does this show a “red flag” when I apply for the permanent green card after a year.

    Appreciating your advice and time.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 21, 2011

      Dear Inab:

      Having two leases for the purpose you describe usually does raise a red flag for I-751 applicants. Expect to be interviewed and asked about the situation. I have had many clients whose cases were approved who were in the same situation, so long as they provided sufficient evidence to prove they were living together (on the days or weekends that they could) at their primary marital home.

      Use the primary marital home address for bills, accounts, etc., as much as possible – not the secondary campus dorm address.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  27. Maria
    October 20, 2011


    I am preparing to send my I751 in and I am concerned about not having enough paper trail of my marriage. We have been married now 2 months short of 3 yrs, we live with my husbands mother and the lease and all utility bills are under her name, eventhough we contribute with rent money. We don’t have any credit cards, we have a joint bank account, our car insurance lits me in the policy eventhough I have a state id but dont have a drivers liscence, and dont drive. I got a cell pho e under my sisters name before I was married and simply added him to my plan, but though the bill comes to our address, it comes under my I sisters name. I am listed as beneficiary on my husbands insurance, and have a couple random bills addressed to myself in our current address. Other than that, we have tons of photos ranging from when we first met, through our big wedding, and recent trip to south america. We have also filed single in our taxes, as it was recomended to us at the time of filing.

    Im not sure what else I can find or think of to send, im assuming it’s best to send more than to send too little. Any thoughts would be appteciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Dear Maria:

      It sounds like you are doing the best you can. Perhaps you can add a letter from you, your husband, your mother-in-law and your sister explaining the rent and bill situation and affirming that they have seen first hand that you two are living together and that they are convinced you have a real marriage.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  28. fatima
    October 5, 2011

    My husband is US citizen, we filed I-751 together in April 2011 and I had my biometrics done in June 2011. My father was sick and I left the country on emergency basis in Aug 2011, recieved interview call for 21st Sept 2011 which my husband called to reschedule but we recieved a letter of denail for failing to appear and rescheduling the interview. I am still out of country, can i travel back into the States with the letter of extension which lasts till may 2012. We have a five month old daughter, to be able to re-file I-751 or re-open case, i need to be back with my husband. What do I do?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2011

      Dear Fatima:

      I am sorry, but you will need to spend the money on an Immigration Attorney to try to fix your case because now has become too complex to give you individualized instructions in a free blog format.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  29. karla
    August 9, 2011

    I will send my documents next week and I don’t have the residential lease in our names, but we do have bills(electricity, cable), joint account , life insurance, car insurance, AAA, costco, credcards, letters from two friends, tax return filling jointly for 2 years. ALso, we do the copies of checks of rent for the last 4 months , because we just moved out. We lived at the same address for almost 2 years .So, do you think it is enough documents or do I need to send more proves.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Karla:

      Thank you for contacting me, but It is impossible for an immigration attorney to provide you with a legal opinion on your particular I-751 Petition without reviewing your history and your entire I-751 Petition, including the attached proof of marriage. What if I said yes, it looks great, and you were denied?

      We charge $350 USD to review an I-751 Petition that has already been prepared and to work with you to make it perfect. Please don’t trust free blog information when it comes to your future.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  30. adriana
    June 9, 2011

    Mrs. Danielle

    I will file I-751

    I have tax returns filing jointly for 2 years
    Lots of pictures with my friends, and family
    receipts of car insurance together
    receipts of town house insurance together (we are renting)
    some utility bills in both names , and affidavits
    mail correspondace with both names
    bank accounts jointly
    BUT the lease of the town house is only in my husband name, we tried to buy a house last year but at last minute was imposible.,
    Also we dont have kids, I cannot have a baby without a treatment, (like my sister), and recently a discover that i have joint degenaration in my knees and arthitis.I’m 42 years old.

    Do you think that lease contract only in his name and the fact we don’t have children is a problem???


  31. Yuri
    March 4, 2011

    I am about to file Form-751 and i have a question about criminal history.
    I was arrested several years before our first interview. I sent all necessary court documents with Form-485 and was granted a conditional green card. Since then I haven’t had any trouble with the law.
    Do I still need to send the same court documents with form-751? Or can I just mark “yes” in Part3.7, since the immigration already has all those documents.

    Thank you in advance

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 7, 2011

      Dear Yuri:

      I would send the same court documents with the I-751 as a precautionary measure to prevent delays in processing your 10 year green card. The USCIS often requests documents we have already submitted with previous applications and it causes a delay in processing.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Yuri
        March 9, 2011

        Thank you for your advice

  32. Emartinez
    February 28, 2011

    Please i and my wife has been married for 2 years now and am about to go the removal of condition on my green card, but we have a little problem, we have been filing single in our w2’s but we have every other thing required for the removal please will this make them deny my i-751? i mean we have every other thing asked for.and if we change the status my wife will be owing the IRS please Advice me

  33. L
    February 3, 2011

    Hello. I am a US citizen and married my soon to be ex husband about 3.5 years ago. I am now filing for divorce and that should come through some time this month. I believe this is called a “pending divorce”. My husband and I were summoned for an i-751 interview next month (we may or may not be divorced by then). I don’t wish him any harm as I am the one that left him. But we don’t know how to handle this since we are no longer together. We filed the i-751 back in March and are just now being contacted for this new interview next month. What is the best thing for us to do? I will not pretend we are still together but I do not want him to be deported either. I don’t mind going with him to the interview but will that harm him or help him? Again, I have no idea what he’s up to now since we’re not together. He just moved to a new place I don’t even know the exact address. This is all so nerve wracking..

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear L:

      If you truly don’t want to cause him any harm, you will pay to consult with an Immigration Attorney near you (ask if you can pay for a 30-60 minute consultation) and seek his/her advice. It is impossible for any immigration attorney to give you free legal advice on a blog without taking the time to find out about your (and his) complete history, which takes time. Everybody’s history is completely different.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  34. Mai
    January 14, 2011

    I am currently prepare to file I-751.I have a question about our utilities bills. We don’t have our name together but all the bills have a same address. Should I send our utilities bills to immigration as a part of I-751 document??
    Thank you in advance!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 14, 2011

      Dear Mai,

      Yes, if the deadline is fast approaching, turn in your utility bills without both names on them. But if there is time, it is best to call the utility companies and ask them to put the second name on the utility bills. Sometimes the utility companies won’t put two names on the bills; in that case as them to make this change:

      Name of Husband
      c/o Name of Wife
      Your Address

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  35. Amy
    December 2, 2010

    Hi. I need some advice….kind of quickly.

    My husband is an Australian citizen, and US Permanent Resident with a conditional green card. I am a US citizen. We are currently on a working holiday in Australia. We came so I could meet his family, see his culture, and get a good job while the US economy is bad. We have a re-entry permit, however, we did not realize it expires when my husband’s card expires in March 2011. We had plans to return to the states (return plane tickets as proof), but I have fallen pregnant and will have the baby in Australia…thus putting us unable to return to the states until June 2011. I feel as though we will have plenty of information to support our marriage, as well as affidavits, banking accounts, plane tickets, proof of pregnancy, and a permanent address in the US to support eveidence of not abandoning PR status.
    I guess my question is…is there going to be a problem with applying for the I-751 from overseas even though we will be using our permanent address in the states? I know my husband will have to fly back for his biometrics appointment, and we are prepared for that, but what are the chances they will schedule that appointment after his card expires? Do they supply the extension letter before the biometrics appointment? Will the extension letter be enough for my husband to be able to come back to AU from his biometrics appointment and us be able to come back to the states in June? My biggest fear is that he is going to have to go to the states and not be able to leave and miss the birth of our baby. Also, if they do decide to have an interview and I am too pregnant to fly, will they be willing to reschedule? Is it okay to request that an interview be scheduled after the baby is born?

    We’ve got a ton of information to support our marriage…so I’m not terribly concerned they won’t approve it. I am more concerned if it is going to be a problem for us to be in Australia instead of in America when we apply. Also, when his card expires (since the re-entry permit expires with it) how long do we have until we have to be back in the country without reapplying for a re-entry permit, and when does that time start? Is it a year from the time he leaves, so like a year from when he comes back from his biometrics appointment? Please any help would be appreciated…the baby is not a fan of all this immigration stress!!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 6, 2010

      Dear Amy,
      Your case is complicated and you should hire an immigration attorney to make sure your husband doesn’t lose his green card (then you have to file all over again). However, I can answer a few of your questions. Yes, you will have problems with the I-751. The chances are very good they they will schedule the biometrics after his card expires. Yes, he should receive the receipt (extending the 2 year card) before the biometrics are scheduled. No, the extension letter may not be enough for him to return, due to his extended absence. Yes, they can reschedule an I-751 interview, but it is difficult to ask them for a certain timeframe (after baby born). He needs to return before his card/re-entry permit expires, and it can take at least a month (at the minimum) after applying to get his re-entry receipt and biometrics.

      I hope these answers help you make decisions. No, your new baby does not need all this stress!
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Amy
        December 6, 2010

        Thank you very mch for taking the time to answer my questions! Of course, we can’t afford an attorney, or to reapply for the card for that matter…so I guess we will just hope that we have provided enough detailed information to prove that we are married, and why we came to AU in the first place, and our intentions of returning. While the absolute last thing I want to do is have my first child completely alone on the other side of the world, I suppose it won’t kill me and if it comes down to it we can have my husband return to the states just before his card expires (1 month before I am due). The best case scenerio is that they schedule the biometrics appointment before his card expires (we are sending in the application to arrive just a day or two into the 90 days) and he can safely go there and come back to wait for the approval of the new card. Sad that you have to go through so much to prove your love…and that the fate of your life rests in the hands of complete strangers! Fingers crossed. Thanks again for your advice.

  36. sara123
    August 5, 2010

    Hello, I would need some help. Im gonna try to keep it short.

    Is this enough evidence to file i751?

    Joint tax returns for 2 years
    joint bank account ( 2 different banks )
    Bank statements
    Joint car insurence and both names on our car registration on both cars
    We only have one name on the lease ( landlord wants it that way )
    Our internet bill comes in one name. They dont want to put 2 names on it.
    Utilities are included in the rent.
    We have lots of pictures of the two of us together. Should we exclude them and only send pics with friends and familys?
    We have no trips together ( we havent even been on our honeymoon yet)
    We can get a few affidavits for sure.

    Thank you so much

    We are thinking about using the same lawyer who helped us file everything 2 years ago. It seems like a lot of people are filing by themselves. We are so ( I am ) afraid to do typos or any other kind of mistake to get denied. It feels safer to have a lawyer do it 🙂

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 6, 2010

      Dear Sara123:

      It looks like you are on the right track. I don’t know much about you (previous marriages, visa history, etc.) but if you’ve only been married once and you have no complications (like being interviewed 2 times for your green card, etc.) I would add some of the following if you can:

      *Proof of the Wedding (ring receipt, photos of wedding, wedding cards)
      *Proof of medical insurance
      *Proof of life insurance
      *Copies of mail (envelopes too, with postmarks) received in both names
      * Emails to/from each other in beginning of relationship (nothing too sexy!)

      And yes, I would include the photos of just the two of you together . . . the more photos the better, and especially if they span the time frame from when you first met to the present (at least 2 years).

      Some of my clients, because of the economic situation, do not have the money to hire an immigration attorney to prepare the I-751 Petition, but they are nervous about making mistakes. They also don’t want to go through a second green card interview. A compromise is to ask an immigration attorney to review the I-751 package and critique it for you before you submit it so that you have the best chance possible of being successful. We charge $350 at my office to critique I-751 packages (which includes overnight shipping, the attorney time, written list of changes, and phone calls with attorney).

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • sara123
        October 13, 2010

        thank you.

        Ok here is an update. I do have a lawyer now. the same who helped us during our first interview.

        This is what we have

        old lease with his name and a letter from landlord adding me
        a notirazed letter from the owner of a house we housesat for 6 month
        our new lease for one year we just signed
        our last lease of 1,5 years is only in my name. landlord is a big duche and woill not add my husband
        joint tax returns
        joint bankstatements from one bank
        bankstatement with our new adress
        joint car insurence
        drivingslicence change of adress from dmw. the brown little card. both names
        3 affidavits letters from friends, 2 of them notirized.

        my lawyer point that our last lease could cause problems. Any thoughts of that?

        this is our first marrige. we have no recepts from wedding bands or card. we had a small beachwedding with a handfull of friends.
        we will send ppics of him with my parents. me with his brother and cousin, boss and with friends.

        there is np utilities since its all included in the new rent as well.

        copy of green card.

        I think thats it.

        Honestly I cannot concentrate on anything else and my lawyer is giving us the worst caste seario all the time. i know that they are very picky and want do avoid to send more evidence,

        its the lease thing im worrid about. he promised to put us on the lease but now he dosnt even answer the phone. our old lease. 😦

        thank you again

  37. Bio 123
    July 24, 2010


    I am glad that I visited this website before filing for my I-751 petition. I followed all the guidelines on the website promptly. As a result, I was able to get my 10 year permanent resident card with all the conditions removed very easily. I was able to get my green card within a span of four months without a second green card interview….!!!!

    Bio 123.

  38. FINN
    April 6, 2010


    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 6, 2010

      I’m sorry that your situation is not working out. Getting the I-751 petition approved when you have these complications takes guidance from a legal expert because each case is different, and the law is not written in a straight forward manner.

      There are so many things about you that the legal expert needs to know, and that entails a lengthy interview. For example, how long did you know each other before the marriage? How long did you live together before she was deployed? Do you have children together? Was she ever pregnant? Have you met each others’ family? Have either of you been married before? What are your ages? When you lived together, did you have any accounts (bank, utilities, etc.) in both names? Why not? Photos? Tax Returns? Criminal Records? What did you send with the I-751 Petition?

      These are not the only questions, but just a starting point. Please consult with a legal expert to make sure you are doing the right thing. The legal expert will charge between $150 – $350 to advise you what to do. First they should interview you, and then they will need to do an analysis of the law as it applies to your situation. It would be worth it to learn the law as it applies to your case to save your Lawful Permanent Residence status.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Pablo
        December 5, 2012

        Hello my name is Pablo I am 31 years old, first let me apologize for my poor English .

        I think I have a problem , My wife deserted our twin daughters 2 years old and me on Feb 14 2012 she left to Indiana and then to Florida where she was arrested on Aug 18 2012 for prostitution and soliciting .
        We get married in June 02 2009 right after the babies born she stared to experienced with bipolar , depression , and post traumatic stress she stared to get very violent not only physical but verbally too the police were many times in our house I never ask for restraining order but I have all the police report and DYFS evidence they opened a case because of her mental issues also I have proof of her intent to commit suicide on 2010 and proof of the medication the she used to take I have Tax return we did jointly and least of Apt car insurance with both names on it babies birth certificate .

        I filled out the I 751 form and I send the evidence together on Dec 03 2012 I have no money to pay a lawyer I have the custody and divorce in process our daughters are living with me I will start college in January 22 2013 and I will go to the army in 2013 .

        I just want to ask :
        What chance I have to win this case and get my permanent green card for 10 years

        • immigrationworkvisa
          January 4, 2013

          Dear Pablo:

          Your English is excellent and it sounds as though you are an honorable man and a fine father. It is hard for me to make a judgment on your I-751 petition because I cannot see what you submitted as proof of all you say. But if you filled out the I-751 correctly, and attached proof of everything you put in your question, you should be successful. My hope is that you made a copy of everything you submitted before you sent it.

          If the USCIS does not feel you sent enough evidence or if they want a copy of the final divorce, they will send you a letter. If you get a request for more evidence, please feel free to call or email me to discuss your case.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

          • Pablo D Iglesias
            January 4, 2013

            Hello Danielle Nelisse i want to let you know that today 01/04/2013 I receive the extention letter for one year from immigration that mean they acept my aply I751 ? in the letter say that they will let me know when I have to go for biometric and pic that mean they dont need aditional evidence?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 13, 2010

      Your case is so complicated that you should hire a competent immigration attorney who specializes in I-751 Petitions to help you finish it. It is very possible you could save your green card if you retain professional help.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  39. immigrationworkvisa
    September 17, 2009

    What about sworn affidavits? How does the government expect alot of the evidence if the Husband that brought the wife into the USA doesn’t have alot of money. His house is still in his ex-wifes and his name. Electricity and the water had been turned off many times. And the wife was kept in the dark in all things financial. The husband wouldn’t help her even get a Social Security number. It took her a full year to get one, and he never taught her to drive. She finally left the house and now lives in a trailer in the back yard of her cousins place.

    Sad to say, I have seen this before. This question opens up a whole can of worms. In the situation you describe above, where the couple is no longer living together or married in any way (but it seems only separated and not yet divorced), the green card holder really needs professional legal help in order to file the I-751 in the correct manner and successfully get her 10 year green card.

    For example, the I-751 Form asks the question whether the couple is still (a) married (meaning living together), (b) divorced, or (c) whether this is a “hardship” situation. FYI, it is not good to check the “married” box when in reality the couple is separated.

    Each of those options requires that different evidence be submitted. There is no charge to call me at my office at (619) 235-8811 to discuss the situation and find out how this might work best. Regards, Attorney Danielle Nelisse

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