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Exceptions to the I-751 Requirements for Military Personnel

The I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence must be filed 90 days before the expiration of a conditional resident's status. Because of the limited filing window, the interview requirement and the length of time to process an I-751 it can be very difficult for conditional resident's who are spouses of a member of the U.S. military to meet the I-751 procedural requirements.

The USCIS acknowledged this issue in a formal memorandum in 2002 shortly after the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom. The USCIS policy memorandum provides for several accommodations for spouses of military personnel with respect to the I-751.

Imminent Deployment Abroad

In jointly filed I-751 cases involving active military personnel, the USCIS memorandum provides for expeditious adjudication of the I-751. If the I-751 cannot be adjudicated before the service member's deployment abroad the petition will be placed on an overseas hold until the service member spouse returns the the U.S. In these cases, the I-751 should be submitted with evidence of the service members deployment and include a request for expedited processing.

Service Members Who Are Already Deployed

In I-751 cases where the service member is already deployed the USCIS must accept the I-751 signed only by the conditional resident spouse. The petition must be accompanied by evidence of the U.S. citizen spouse's military assignment. The USCIS will place the petition on an overseas hold and instructed to submit an I-751 signed by both parties upon return of the military spouse. No additional filing fee will be required.

Status of Conditional Resident Pending Adjudication of I-751

If the I-751 cannot be approved on an expedited basis or the U.S. citizen spouse is deployed abroad at the time of filing, the conditional resident spouses Permanent Resident Card will be extended for one year and may be extended for additional periods by the adjudicating USCIS field office.

Other Options: Filing Abroad

If the conditional resident and the U.S. citizen spouse are both living abroad on official government orders the I-751 should be filed with the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over your residence of record in the U.S.

More information about this option is included in the USCIS instructions for Form I-751.

USCIS Contact Information for Military Personnel

A USCIS memo published on 12/11/2008 lists the following contact information for military personnel.

USCIS Nebraska Service Center Military Assistance Team

1-877-247-4645
militaryinfo.nsc@dhs.gov

Overseas USCIS Contact Emails

Rome District (includes Iraq): rome.natz@dhs.gov
Germany: uscis.frankfurt@dhs.gov
South Korea: cis-seoul.natz@dhs.gov
Afghanistan: uscis.afghanistan@dhs.gov

I have not personally used these contacts but I assume they are still valid. Some of the email addressed for overseas offices maybe dedicated only to naturalization cases.

Closing Thoughts

The official USCIS memo applies to military personnel who were serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. I am not aware of any further USCIS policy which has revoke this or know of any reason why it would not apply to military personnel deployed abroad in other military campaigns.

There are no specific provisions of law excusing a late filing of an I-751 based on military deployment so it is important that all couples in this situation file the I-751 on time pursuant to the special procedures adopted by the USCIS.