A new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy memorandum revises and clarifies guidance issued on October 9, 2009, relating to late filing of a joint Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, and authorizes immigration services officers (ISOs) to issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for untimely filed joint I-751s. The new guidance supersedes existing guidance for the processing of late jointly filed I-751 petitions submitted without explanation for the late filing.
USCIS noted that the conditional permanent resident (CPR) and the petitioning spouse must jointly file an I-751 during the 90-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date the CPR acquired conditional resident status. USCIS may accept I-751 joint petitions filed after this 90-day period if the CPR establishes good cause and extenuating circumstances for the failure to timely file.
Under the new guidance, when an ISO adjudicates a late jointly filed I-751 petition, the ISO will check for a written explanation of the late filing. If the I-751 petition is submitted with an explanation for the late filing, the ISO will review the explanation for the untimely filing in relation to the length of time the application was untimely filed, along with any corroborating evidence that was submitted, to determine if the CPR established good cause for the late filing. If the CPR did not include a written explanation for the late filing, the ISO will issue an RFE, requesting a reasonable explanation for the late filing and corroborating evidence. If the ISO receives a response to the RFE, the ISO will evaluate the explanation, along with any corroborating evidence that was submitted, to determine if the CPR established good cause for the late filing. Corroborating evidence is not necessary if the explanation is acceptable on its face. After receiving a response to the RFE, the ISO may transfer the I-751 file for an interview if the documentary evidence leads to an inconclusive result and the determination of good cause for the late filing would benefit from a live interview. If the ISO does not receive a response to the RFE, the ISO will deny the I-751 for failure to comply with the filing requirements.
The interim policy memorandum is available here.