Consequences of Filing Your I-751 Late
All lawful permanent residents who gain their residency through marriage to a U.S. are granted conditional lawful permanent residency. (*Unless you had been married for 2 years or more at the time you applied for residency.) The conditional residency expires after two years. Conditional lawful permanent residents must apply to remove the conditions on their residency during the 90 day period before their conditional residency expires. Failure to file a timely petition to remove the conditions on your residency can have dire consequences.
Failure to File the I-751
If you fail to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residency your conditional lawful permanent residency will be revoked and you will be subject to removal from the United States.
Filing the I-751 Late
If you forgot to file your I-751 in the 90 day period before your conditional residency expired you may file a late petition. The USCIS may approve a late petition if the petitioners can show "good cause" for the late filing and amount of time that it is filed late is "reasonable" under the circumstances. The USCIS is very strict about this and carefully scrutinizes petitions that are filed very late. Thus, if your petition is very late (more than a month or so) you must have a very good excuse that is well supported and documented in your petition.
When Your I-751 is Denied
If your I-751 is filed late and it is denied for that reason your lawful permanent residency will be terminated and you will be placed in removal proceedings. You will be out-of-status and will not be eligible to adjust your status which means you will have to depart the United States.
Your U.S. Citizen spouse can then file a new immigrant visa petition for you and, if approved, you can apply for a new immigrant visa abroad.
The best thing to do is to make sure that you mark your calendar and make sure you file your I-751 on time. Failure to do so can result in loss of lawful permanent residency and great hardship for your and your family.
However, if you have failed to file your I-751 in a timely fashion you should consult with an immigration attorney immediately. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.