My I-751 Conditional Residence Removal Case is Pending for Too Long. How Do I Prove My Lawful Status?

The Form I-751 is used by conditional residents to remove the conditions on residence and obtain a 10-year lawful permanent resident card. The Form I-751 must be filed during the 90-day “window” before conditional residence expires. It cannot be filed late, but it also cannot be filed early. It takes much longer than 90 days for the new permanent resident card to be issued. Therefore, the conditional resident card will inevitably expire before the applicant can obtain the new card. This does not mean that the applicant’s lawful status expires. Lawful status continues until it is terminated by the government. How can a conditional resident prove his or her continued lawful status during the pendency of the I-751 case?

Once the I-751 is filed, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a Form I-797 receipt notice, which serves as proof of the conditional resident’s continued status for one year after expiration of the conditional resident card. Until recently, this had been sufficient for foreign nationals to prove their status during the entire pendency of the Form I-751. However, delays relating to the processing of Form I-751 have been an ongoing problem during the past year. At present, the California Service Center processing time report indicates that the average processing time for Form I-751 is approximately 15 months, while the Vermont Service Center processing time report indicates the average processing time for an I-751 Petition is approximately 13 months. In some cases, processing can take even longer, especially if the case is undergoing extended review.

Due to lengthy I-751 processing times, some conditional residents have cases that have been pending longer than the one-year extension of their conditional resident card and now need evidence of their status as evidence of work authorization, for international travel, to renew a state-issued driver’s license and for other reasons.

Conditional residents with a pending Form I-751 who are in need of evidence of their continued lawful resident status should be able to obtain a temporary I-551 stamp in their passport at a local USCIS office. The stamp, which may be obtained by scheduling an InfoPass appointment, is proof of their valid status. If there are no InfoPass appointments available and the conditional resident urgently needs to obtain an I-551 stamp, the local USCIS field office should be able to provide the stamp on an emergency/walk-in basis. Walk-in hours and procedures vary by local field office. If the request is based on an emergency, the emergent need for the stamp must be clearly documented. Additionally, the conditional resident should not request a temporary stamp more than 30 days before the expiration of the conditional permanent resident card extension, as the local office could refuse to issue it that early in advance.

The conditional resident should bring the following items to the local USCIS field office when seeking a temporary I-551 stamp:

  • Valid, unexpired passport;
  • InfoPass appointment notice (if applicable);
  • Form I-751 receipt notice;
  • Application Support Center (Biometrics) Appointment Notice, which bears the correct “receipt number” for purposes of verifying the pendency of the Form I-751;
  • Expired conditional resident card;
  • Proof of residence within the jurisdiction of the USCIS office; and
  • Proof of emergency (if relevant).
  • If the individual does not have a valid passport, he or she may obtain an I-551 stamp on an I-94 card that will be issued by the field office.  In this situation, the individual should also bring two passport photographs, which will be affixed to the card.

USCIS will typically issue the I-551 stamp with a validity period up to a maximum of 12 months. However, it has been reported that some USCIS local offices will only extend in 3 or 6 month increments. If the conditional resident’s passport expires prior to that time, the stamp will likely reflect the expiration date of the passport.

55 Comments

  1. HM

    I filed my I-751 Aug 10th, 2016. I only have a copy of my notice of I-797c (the one year extension letter) that expires on Aug 10th, 2017. Will that work with my passport and other documents to get an I-551 stamp??

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi HM: It should work. You should also bring the stamped ASC (biometrics) appointment notice to prove that you completed the required fingerprinting/biometrics. The biometrics notice will also have the “real” receipt number that can be used to check the status online. The receipt notice usually contains a “dummy” receipt number that cannot be found when using the http://www.uscis.gov website. Have you checked online to confirm that the case is still pending? I hope this is helpful.

      Reply
  2. vamsikallepalli

    Hi,

    I live in Houston, TX and all the field offices around here have no appointments, so do you think I can visit any other field office in the country to get an extension stamp in my passport, I have seen that the field offices in Harlingen, TX, New Orleans, Cleveland,OH have appointments in near future.

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hello Vamsi: You should be able to visit any office in the U.S. if you make an InfoPass appointment, but keep in mind that we have heard rumors that certain offices will not accommodate individuals outside of their jurisdiction. This issue appears to be office-specific and most offices should be able to accommodate you even if you live outside of their jurisdiction. Alternatively, if you approach your expiration date and there are no appointments, you can attempt to enter the USCIS office as a walk-in on an emergency basis with proof that you attempted to book an appointment previously and proof of an emergency (for example, work-related international travel). The key is to be kind and polite to the gatekeepers, and to show proof of a legitimate emergency for the walk-in. Thank you. – Yova

      Reply
      • vamsikallepalli

        Thank you Yova for the quick response, this is greatly appreciated. I have another month before my current stamp expires and will try book an infopass appointment at local office up until then.

        Reply
        • Yova Borovska

          You are welcome. Also, keep in mind that, once you are eligible for U.S. Citizenship (N-400), you can generally file that application even if your I-751 is still pending. USCIS is supposed to adjudicate the I-751 at the time of the N-400 interview if it is still pending at that time for some reason. Eligibility to for U.S. Citizenship is three years from conditional residence receipt for individuals who have been married to and living with a U.S. Citizen spouse during that period of time. You can file up to 90 days early, but not earlier. The three-year period begins at the time you received your conditional residence – your conditional resident card will have a notation stating “resident since ______.” I hope this helps!

          Reply
  3. Rachell

    If my 1year receipt expired and got a extension stamp, can I still travel other country ?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi Rachell: I cannot be 100% sure without reviewing your particular situation and documents, but generally speaking applicants with pending I-751 applications are allowed to travel abroad using the temporary, unexpired I-551 stamp placed in their passport by USCIS, even after the 1-year extension has expired.

      Reply
  4. Maria Charistine

    Hello my name is maria christine, i live in Moorhead, minnesota and my field office is minneapolis, my quedtion is there is an office at Fargo, ND, which i did my Fingerprinting, would they be able to do a I551stamp for me? Or do i have to make an appointment for info pass at the mInneapolis office?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hello Maria: You should go to a USCIS Field Office, not the Application Support Center. The Field Office has the capability to issue an I-551 stamp while the Application Support Center might not have that capability. Therefore, you should go to Minneapolis.

      Reply
      • Maria Christine Pagharion

        That is great info. Thank you so much. This site is very helpful, to be honest with you than calling the csc.

        Reply
  5. Maria christine

    Now i am trying to get this info pass, and i am looking on it everyday and it always says no appointments available as of now! What can advise how to get this info pass?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      A lot of times, you have to keep checking throughout the day as the USCIS offices release new appointments during different times of the day. If the current expiration is imminent and you have international travel plans or another urgent need to get the stamp (such as employment applications), you can try to walk in without an appointment with proof of the emergency/urgent need for the stamp. Depending on the office, they might let you in on a walk-in basis.

      Reply
    • Vy Nguyen

      My lawyer told me a trick that if you go on infopass website between 2-4am you’re more likely to get it. That is when the window is open. It worked for me. It’s really hard to schedule one during the day. Got my stamp today at the MSP field office. Good for work and travel. All I needed to bring were the infopass appointment confirmation letter (print out after scheduling), my valid passport, my I-751 receipt notice, expired green card (this will be destroyed once they give you the stamp). Wish you all the best!

      Reply
      • Yova Borovska

        This is a good tip, thank you Vy. Every office does this differently. I have noticed that our local office releases them throughout the day, although I have not tried in the middle of the night. 🙂

        Reply
  6. Lizzy

    Hello my name is lizzy. Got married to my husband in may 2013, i got my conditional greencard February 15, 2015. I was told it is conditional because my marriage was not yet 2yrs. I filed to remove condtion and in February 1st 2017, i received a 1yr extension and in march i went to my biometric appointment. February 16th 2018, i went to get a i551 stamp using infopass. Tracking my case status ,it still says pending. May 2018 makes my marriage 5years and February 2018 would have made my greencard 3years. When is it right to file for my cituzenship? Is it possible to go ahead and file for my citizenship now despite my i751 is pending? What could be the cause of delay with my case?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi Lizzy: I cannot give specific advice without reviewing your entire situation. However, generally, you can apply for U.S. Citizenship up to 90 days prior to the third anniversary from receiving your conditional (2-year) card, if you have been married to and living with your U.S. Citizen husband during that period of time. This is the case even if the Conditional Residence removal (I-751) case is still pending. This actually encourages USCIS to adjudicate both together. The I-751 case can be subject to normal extended processing times. It is currently taking over a year for most I-751s to be adjudicated and often even longer than that. If USCIS needs more information from you, it will contact you, but make sure to keep updating your address if you move, so USCIS knows where to mail things. USPS does not forward government mail.

      Reply
  7. GB

    Hi, I have a question about the 1-year extension. My 2-year conditional green card was to expire in 04/2017. So I had filed I-751 in 01/2017 (within the 90-day prior period). I got an extension for a year. I was under the impression that the extension was till 04/2018 but I found out now that it was till 01/2018. Anyway, I’m planning to get an info-pass appointment to get an extension stamp on my passport since I have to travel internationally in 07/2018. Did I delay in getting the infopass appointment since my 1-year extension was technically only till 01/2018? (Today is 03/19/2018 – which is few days before what I originally thought was the expiry of extension i.e. 04/07/2018). Thank you very much for your help in advance.

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi GB: Normally, the extension is for one year after the 2-year card expires. What led you to believe it is one year from the I-751 filing? For a while the receipt notices for the I-751 contained verbiage that misled a lot of individuals to think that the extension was for one year from the receipt notice date. However, it should be one year from the 2-year card expiration date. Anyway, you should get the I-551 stamp as soon as possible to avoid further delays.

      Reply
      • Yova Borovska

        Also, the card, receipt and I-551 stamp are only proof of your permanent residence (conditional). Your residence continues despite the lack of proof. So as long as you filed your I-751 timely and you have not formally abandoned your green card or been found by an immigration judge to have lost your permanent residence, you continue to be a resident. However, it is important to have proof of your permanent residence, so you should get the stamp as soon as possible as discussed above.

        Reply
        • GB

          Hi Yova, thank you so much for your prompt reply. I suppose the source of my misinformation was the internet! I’m glad my original presumption was right. I have an infopass appointment for I-551 in a few days – do they usually stamp it right away or will they keep the passport and return with stamp after a few days? I have travel plans in 07/2018, so I’m planning to take my e-ticket print out as proof. Will I need anything else to ensure they will give me at least a 6-month stamp?
          Thanks,
          GB

          Reply
          • Yova Borovska

            They usually stamp it right away. They will take your expired 2-year card.

  8. Herby

    My green card expired on November 19,2017. I filled my I-751 last August 20,2017 . I got my I-797 last September extending my green card for another year. but up to now i have not received any notice for my biometrics. And in my case status it says that my I-751 was received by USCIS only last March 4, 2018? I am a bit confused can you shed light on this please.

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi Herby: This is very case-specific and does not sound normal. You should call the 1-800 number to inquire about the status and discrepancy in the filing dates, as well as to request a biometrics notice. It is possible that somehow it took too long for USCIS to begin processing the case. Or the case may have been transferred to another office. Sometimes when a case is transferred to another service center or to the local office for an interview the online status updates to state that USCIS has received your case, even though it has been pending for many months. If the 1-800 number representatives cannot assist, you should schedule an InfoPass at your local USCIS Field Office. Thank you.

      Reply
      • mohammad

        I have the same exact situation and almost the same exact dates
        I have filed in florida though

        Reply
        • Hu Xue

          Same situation in here and my case has been pending for more than a year already.

          Reply
          • Yova Borovska

            We are now seeing that I-751 cases routinely take close to 18-21 months unfortunately, even if they are “straightforward” jointly-filed cases with no issues.

      • Yova Borovska

        Also, regarding the biometrics notice, I am now hearing from clients and other lawyers that USCIS has started to just use previously captured biometrics from the originally-filed green card case until the I-751 case is actually with an adjudicator. It takes 18-21 months on average for I-751s to get to an immigration officer for adjudication, which is why we have been told that USCIS doesn’t bother scheduling biometrics until after the case is actually being adjudicated. So it is possible that you might be called in for a biometrics appointment many months after filing. I still think it is good practice to call the 1-800 number to inquire.

        Reply
  9. Andressa Johnson

    Hello, I have been waiting for my case to be processed since oct 2016. I just had my naturalization interview and my I-551 work permit will expire in 20 or so days. I tried to schedule an appointment with my local office but they aren’t accepting appointments and it defaulted me to a message system. I am waiting for them to contact me back. The naturalization officer said he will try to process my conditional prior naturalization. My worry is that what happens in April 30th and my job? If the paper work isn’t process or I can’t renew my stamp (my overall status is ok until October, it is my working permit that is the issue)? Do I have to stop working? Thank you

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Some USCIS offices allow walk-ins for people whose proof of LPR status is about to expire and who have an urgent reason to obtain a stamp. You should attempt to obtain an I-551 stamp as a walk-in. Whether or not you must stop working depends on what document you presented to your employer for your initial I-9 verification. If you presented an unexpired conditional resident card, you do not have to stop working and your employer need not and must not attempt to ask for updated documents: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/complete-correct-form-i-9/completing-section-3-reverification-and-rehires (employers should not reverify LPRs including conditional residents who presented an unexpired conditional resident card. The card is just proof of your permanent resident status, but your status does not terminate just because the card is expired. If you presented the expired green card plus the 1-year extension notice, or the temporary I-551 stamp, unfortunately, your employer would need to “reverify” and request a new document or combination of documents. But you can choose to present your DL (or other valid ID) and an unrestricted SS card instead (List B and C document). The employer cannot ask you to present a specific document. You can choose an acceptable document or combination from the I-9 form instructions: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 (p. 3 of the Form I-9). The above is a generic description, I cannot give an opinion on your particular situation without knowing all the facts.

      Reply
  10. Jay

    Hi Yova, I have my NOA issued since 11/2017. I have been looking to travel but couldn’t because I heard rumors of people having challenges at the point of entry back to the US with the NOA that says notice of one year extension. I have scheduled an infopass appointment to get the i-551 stamp since the NOA appears to be just a piece of paper and might not be convincing enough for airport agents or boarder agencies on my way back. As indicated on your above post “Additionally, the conditional resident should not request a temporary stamp more than 30 days before the expiration of the conditional permanent resident card extension, as the local office could refuse to issue it that early in advance”. My NOA expires months away from today 11/2018. I have canceled my flight twice because of this unpredictable challenge I might have on my way back. Now I have to go on vacation with my wife outside the US. Please advise..

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Some offices might allow stamping earlier than the 30 days, but this is Field Office specific. You can certainly attempt it. But if your current proof of status doesn’t expire until November 2018, it might be too early in my opinion. If you go and say that you are afraid to travel with just the notice, they might reject you. Our clients have been able to travel with just the NOA, the expired card and their foreign passports. We have had very few, if any, reports of problems returning with these documents. The only issue could be some slight delays upon returning, but I cannot recall anyone who was actually denied entry, unless the case was denied while they were outside for some reason. Even then, they are supposed to let you in, so you can fight the denial in Immigration Court. You remain a conditional resident until an Immigration Judge finds otherwise, or until you abandon your residence voluntarily. I cannot give an opinion regarding your specific situation, because I have not reviewed your unique circumstances. But the above is a general description of what we have seen in our busy practice with such cases.

      Reply
  11. Nick Jackson

    Hello, my wife has been waiting for her I-751 to process for 12 months. So, our 1 year extension is coming to an end now. My question is this. Since we do not plan to travel, and she does not work, is it necessary to even go through all the effort to get the stamp in her passport? Can we just stick it out another 3 months or so for the new green card to arrive in the mail?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi Nick: It would be a good idea to obtain the stamp, so she can have unexpired proof of her permanent residency. If there is some emergency requiring her to travel abroad, obtain employment, or apply for benefits from state agencies (e.g. a driver’s license or ID), not having the unexpired proof of her residency can be a problem. There is also no guarantee that it will only take another three months. The processing times posted online do not account for the possibility of receiving a request for evidence or an interview notice. Most I-751 cases that are jointly filed are approved without an interview, as long as all documents look good in the submission. Thank you and good luck.

      Reply
  12. Gordana Stojanoski

    Hi,my husband did his biometrics on February 9th, 2018. On February 28th, 2018 an update popped out on “online check status case” that the case has been received in my local office. After a month and 10 days another update popped out on the same “online check status case” that again the case has been received in my local office, but this time with just new date to April 9th, 2018. I am wondering what could this mean? Thanks !

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      I would suggest calling the 1-800 number or making an InfoPass appointment if you are curious about the online status meaning. The online status is not very reliable lately and sometimes the status updates do not make sense or appear late. It is also possible that the local office received the case for purposes of setting up an interview, although it sounds a bit early for an interview if you just filed in February. Also, most jointly-filed I-751s are not interviewed pursuant to the current policy.

      Reply
      • Gordana Stojanoski

        Thanks for replying Bora. We filed on December, 26th, 2017. But we have already made an Info Pass appointment, because the 1-800 costumer representative stated that they can’t see anything else except the latest update.

        Reply
  13. Madhukar

    Hi, I-751 online status for my case shows as ,On April 9, 2018, we received your Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, Receipt Number XXXXXXXX, at your local office and my I-797 Notice of Action will expire by May 8, 2018. Can I schedule for Infopass for stamp?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      If I understand correctly, you filed your application at some point in 2017, received the I-797 receipt notice extending your permanent residence for one year, then the status online recently changed to show that the form was received on April 9, 2018. If so, yes, please do go for an InfoPass, because your one-year proof is going to expire in May 2018 as you said.

      Reply
  14. Erick

    I got my 2 years conditional on 5/12/215.. i filed my I-751 on 02/12/2017 and got n extension for year after i got my biometrics done .. My was was transferred to another office <<>>.. I went to Chicago office a month ago the claimed work load and told me to wait..
    1- What to do in May 2018 cause my card with one year extension will expired on 5/12/2018
    2- Can i file for a citizenship now while me I-751 still pending?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      We are now seeing that I-751 cases routinely take close to 18-21 months unfortunately, even if they are “straightforward” jointly-filed cases with no issues. Yes, you may file for citizenship now, if you meet the physical presence/continuous residence requirements. If the N-400 interview is scheduled prior to the I-751 decision, the immigration officer is supposed to adjudicate both at the time of the interview. Schedule an InfoPass at your local USCIS to obtain an I-551 stamp extending your status.

      Reply
  15. Lin

    Hi, I had an interview for i751 Aug 2017 after received the letter twice to submit more evidence. When I had an interview, the immigrant said just wait for three or four months. But then, it has been 8 months, I am still waiting for their response. My one year extension notice was already expired long time ago and my i551 stamp will expired on Aug 2018. It has been two years and a half since I applied i751. I am worried if I can just wait or i should do something. Because I moved to NJ on April and I requested to change the address. They didnt even confirm this request. I don’t know what to do. Also, can i get i551 stamp one more year if the current stamp is expired?

    My long story..
    I filed my i751 on Nov, 2015 and got one year extension notice and also did biometrics. One year after, Nov 2016, I received the first letter that i need to submit additional documents.
    My husband and I were didn’t have lease contract and no kids. Also, the address on all documents were very complicated due to my husband’s business situation. So, I did my best to gather all the evidences with tons of photos and affidavits to prove.
    However, I got second letter on Feb 2017 that they want more evidence. This time, I asked lawyer to help me. Altough lawyer organized and submitted for me, they scheduled an interview on Aug, 2017. So, my husband and I went to nyc immigrants office together without lawyer.
    My latest status was “Case was received at my local office on Mar 5th 2018.” I googled it what this means and it said I would be called in for an interview. I am not sure if it means stroke interview because I already had one last year.
    I hope this is a massive database error on their system like online ppl says.

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Hi: It could be am error in the system or maybe your case was transferred to another office. I cannot tell without having reviewed the entire history/files. You should check with the lawyer who is currently working on your case as he or she would be in the best position to provide informed advice.

      Reply
  16. Ayedun

    Please Yova can you advise what you think might be delaying my case …have file in Jan 20 2017 till now i haven’t received my 10 years green card april 20 2018 would 15 months since have submitted my case i did info pass today 4/18/2018 they gave me stamp on my passport i later on check my passport and it has expired which i really didn’t know but i got the stamp on it …what do you think might be delaying my case and is 15 month still normal or what …..

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      We are now seeing that I-751 cases routinely take close to 18-21 months unfortunately, even if they are “straightforward” jointly-filed cases with no issues.

      Reply
  17. Lorena

    Hi! Thank you for this info! I made my appointment for May 3rd and my extension letter expires June 16th, do you think I will be denied? Also, I have those documents you listed, but I do not have a copy of the actual I-751 form I sent to them originally (I know, stupid), do I need that to get a stamp? Will that be a problem? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      It should be okay as you are close enough to the expiration. It is okay you don’t have the I-751 form, as long as you have the receipt notice to prove that you filed it.

      Reply
  18. Ali Rahbar

    Hi, I filed my i751 on July 2017 and got one year extension notice (until September 2018) and also did biometrics. I’m going to travel to Middle East, and I am concerned that at the return, the Airline officers are not informed about the extension letter (that is just a piece of paper) and do not allow me on board! Some months ago I traveled in Australia with the extension letter and the expired GC. At the return , the officer who was checking my documents was not familiar with the extension letter. Finally, he told me I let you go to US on your risk.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      Sounds like poor training of the inspecting officers and airline officials. They are supposed to let you in with the unexpired extension notice and the expired conditional card. But there is always a risk that this would happen. You always take this risk when you travel. You can choose not to travel or wait until you approach the expiration of the notice, so you can obtain an I-551 stamp in your passport instead.

      Reply
  19. Nahomi

    I filled joint i751 on feb2017 . Still nothing . Do you know what date are they processing now ? Is it 100% sure that I’ll be call for an interview ?

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      18-22 months average. My most recent one that was approved was filed in Oct. 2016. Jointly-filed don’t normally get called in for an interview, but they do sometimes, especially if there is some red flag or if the paperwork submitted is insufficient to prove the bona fides of the marriage.

      Reply
  20. Mariana

    My husbands I797 expires on may 20 . Does he have to get stamp even if we do travel inside the u.s. his case status says received on march 5 2018. Biometrics were done on may 2017. He is also worried for his job .

    Reply
    • Yova Borovska

      He should get a stamp in case there is some emergency requiring him to travel abroad or in case he loses his job and needs to apply for a new one.

      Reply
      • Mariana

        Thank you we dont travel abroad but we are planning on traveling to other states does he have to get it for that ?

        Reply
        • Yova Borovska

          You do not need this to travel domestically within continental U.S.

          Reply

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