Guide to the I-751 Affidavit

Updated on June 19, 2023
At a Glance: Form I-751, the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, is required for conditional permanent residents seeking to remove the conditions and obtain permanent residency without restrictions. It is an 11-page document and the initial step for marriage-based green cards. Filing jointly with your spouse within 90 days of completing two years of conditional residence is necessary. While not mandatory, an I-751 affidavit is highly recommended as a letter of support to strengthen the legitimacy of the marriage. Affidavits should be from individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the couple and the marriage, such as family members or close friends. The affidavit should include personal experiences and reasons indicating a bona fide marriage. The affidavit can be valuable in cases of divorce or the death of a spouse, where an I-751 waiver is required.

Transnational marriages in the U.S. take place with certain terms and conditions imposed by the USCIS. This is to curb cases of fake marriages that mostly take place to obtain green cards. To prove that your marriage is indeed genuine, you can submit a Form I-751 affidavit.

If you want to learn how to prepare the affidavit and move ahead with the process, this thorough guide on I-751 Affidavit is for you.

What is Form I-751?

Form I-751 is known as the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You have to fill out this form if you’re a conditional permanent resident and want to change your status to permanent without any conditions.

This is an 11-page document, which is the first step toward permanent residency for marriage-based green cards. Before submitting this form, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must complete the duration of conditional residence, which is usually two years from the date of your marriage.
  • It must be filed jointly by both spouses.
  • It must be filed within 90 days of completing two years of conditional residence.

WARNING: An I-751 Affidavit Is Not Proof

As opposed to Form I-751, the affidavit is not mandatory but is highly recommended. This can make the approval process faster and smoother. Affidavits aren’t official documents provided by the USCIS but are “letters of support,” which reinforce your marriage. It’s also worth mentioning that affidavits aren’t proof or evidence. They are simply testimonies. For strong evidence, you and your spouse will always have to turn to other types of confirmation, like any children together or sharing of finances.

The best use of the I-751 affidavit is when the marriage took place within a short period, and evidence of a bona fide marriage is insufficient. In such cases, judges will weigh the value of this written support.

Who Should Write Your I-751 Affidavit?

Affidavits should be from people you know closely, who can affirm that they have first-hand knowledge of you and your marriage. Family members should be a priority. Since they have known you the longest, their testimony will strongly support the legitimacy of your marriage. But it doesn’t have to be family.

Typically, anyone who knows you and your spouse since the time of your marriage will be best suited to write an affidavit. Common friends, friends who attended your wedding, and the religious leader who officiated the ceremony are options. But they should also be a close confidant of your marriage and your life with your spouse.

In the affidavit, the affiant will provide an account of the personal experience they have with you, your spouse, and your marriage. They should include the reasons they believe the relationship was indeed entered in good faith.

How to Use an I-751 Affidavit With Your I-751 Waiver

Even marriages that start with good intentions end up in a divorce. In such cases, the USCIS could terminate bona fide marriages. To deal with such scenarios, conditional residents are required to file Form I-751 with a waiver. They have to file it individually instead of jointly. Another situation where the I-751 waiver needs to be filed is when a spouse dies unexpectedly during the conditional period.

Even after divorce or death, the waiver form is required to prove the legitimacy of the marriage. The USCIS needs to be convinced that you entered the marriage in good faith and not to use loopholes to get a green card. When the marriage ends in divorce, proving it becomes even more challenging.

The affidavits you have obtained from your close ones will help you in the long run. Since they testified that the marriage indeed took place with good intentions, it’ll be much more convincing.

I-751 Affidavit Format

Since the USCIS doesn’t provide any forms for an affidavit, the way to properly create an affidavit is vague. While there is flexibility, affiants are advised to follow a particular format when writing the letter.

When writing the affidavit, affiants need to have clarity on what to include. Many individuals make the mistake of merely mentioning the relationship they have with the couple and that they are aware of the marriage. But this is insufficient and doesn’t hold much probative weight, no matter how close the relationship.

It’s better to include examples that show the legitimacy of the relationship, which led to marriage. It could be mentioning a party where the couple first met or a vacation you took with the couple. In other words, the more detailed and personal the stories, the better.

When writing the affidavit, this is the preferred format:

  • Full name and present address of the affiant
  • Date and place of birth
  • The relationship shared with the I-751 applicant and their spouse
  • Explanation of the relationship (two to three paragraphs about their relationship with you and your spouse)
  • How the affiant came to know about the couple’s relationship and marriage
  • Frequency of meeting (between affiant and the couple)
  • Date and signature

It is not necessary to notarize the affidavit, but it is recommended. It’s also recommended to include a one-line sworn statement that validates the letter.

The affidavit should be in English; if it’s in a foreign language, it needs to be translated.

I-751 Affidavit Sample Letter

[Address of the USCIS Office]

Subject: Affidavit Letter of Support for [Couple’s Names]

Dear USCIS Officer,

Through this affidavit letter, I’d like to provide my support towards the legitimacy of the marriage between Jessica and Ryan. I have known Jessica since high school. In the spring of 2019, she introduced me to Ryan. They moved into an apartment next to mine and have been living there together for four to five months. Ryan announced their marriage in August 2019 and invited us on a holiday trip, which also included some of our close friends.

They exchanged rings, and they were really happy. The marriage took place in September 2019, and we helped them with the arrangements. They also hinted at their desire to have children soon. I wish them all the luck in their life together.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you. For any assistance, I can be contacted at (714) 444-1212 or at [email protected].

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that these details are true and correct to my understanding, and I take complete responsibility for my words.

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Conclusion

If you cannot provide affidavits for any reason, you’ll be required to attend a series of interviews with the USCIS. Needless to say, the process is going to be lengthy and expensive. So try your best to include an affidavit statement with your I-751 petition. If you’re confused with the process, it’s advised to hire an attorney to help you with the legal complications.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.