*Attention* USCIS Adjusted Some Application Filing Locations!

Great news! USCIS is planning on opening a new facility in Elgin, Illinois next year! This will expand its lock box capacity.

USCIS Adjusted Some Application Filing Locations

USCIS Adjusted Some Application Filing Locations

It's worth mentioning that USCIS has adjusted filing locations for certain applications and this could include some I-485 adjustment of status (AOS) applications. For example, some AOS applicants who originally would have submitted to the Phoenix Lockbox now should go to Chicago or Dallas Lockbox. 

Additionally, USCIS also streamlined filing locations for some employment-based forms to a single lockbox location. So be sure to triple check your correct filing location! 

USCIS Expands Lock Box Capacity

This coming new year, USCIS will be adding a few more filing location changes and they will add Elgin as a new filing location. Soon USCIS will also be moving the Phoenix lockbox facility in Arizona to Tempe. 

How to check the correct USCIS filing location

To avoid delays or even rejections, you need to use the most current filing location! Go to USCIS's website and find your form. On that page, you should be a Where to File section for more detail!

Learn more updates:

DIY How to Apply for Form I-751 Green Card Renewal by Yourself with No RFE!

I can not believe that it’s been almost two years since I received my Green Card! It’s time to renew my Green Card. This time is a fairly easy process compared to what we have gone through when applying for the original Green Card. 

Many of my readers are asking if I would share my experience on renewing the conditional Green Card, aka Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. So here I am! Before we get into details, be sure to check your eligibility first!

How to Renew My Conditional Green Card without RFE

Your current Conditional Green Card is only valid for 2 years and it can not be renewed. What we need to do is to apply for a NEW Green Card. Once your I-751 application is approved, you will receive a 10-year Green Card. Click here to learn more. 

When can you apply for US citizenship? Click here to find out.

Click here to learn about the Form I-751 processing time.

How to Renew My Conditional Green Card without RFE

Step 1: Download the latest version of forms

Step 2: Download the cover letter sample

Step 3: Collect Bona Fide marriage evidence

Step 4: Make a copy of your Green Card 

Step 5: Prepare Fees 

Step 6: Put your package together 

Step 7: Find a shipping carrier 

Step 8: Do a final review! 

Step 9: The Interview 

Step 10: Wait for the notifications!


Step 1: Download the latest version of forms 


What Form do I need to include to remove my conditional Green Card? 

I can’t stress enough that you should download the latest version of forms directly from USCIS’s official website! You don’t want to be rejected by submitting an outdated version of forms. So let’s head over to this webpage to download form I-751 

If you’d like to be notified by email or text, remember to also download Form G-1145, e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. I highly recommend including this! It’s so hard to keep waiting for the notification letters to show up in your mailbox…. Just sign this up and you will be the first to get notified when they receive your package! 

This form is only needed when you choose to pay by Credit Card or Debit Card. 

These are really the only forms you needed!


Step 2: Download the cover letter sample(with a final review checklist!)

Having a cover letter makes your application organized and it also helps you review what is missing! If you need an example, definitely take advantage of my cover letter template:) I appreciate your support! 

I am asking for $3 for this document so I can continue to update you all with the latest information. Plus, you will also receive a final review checklist to help you make sure everything is all set. 

No one wants to make easy mistakes that can ruin or delay the application process!
Form I-751 Cover letter sample


Step 3: Collect Bona Fide marriage evidence

For renewing a conditional Green Card, your bona fide marriage evidence is the biggest part of the application. So what do you need to provide? Short answer - anything that can prove the relationship between you and your US citizen spouse. 

One thing that’s worth mentioning is that you should include evidence since the date of your marriage. Many people made mistakes by providing only evidence from the date they received their Green Card (that’s not enough!) 


What evidence should I include for a bona fide marriage? 

You may have submitted some of these already when you applied for your original Green Card, but it doesn’t hurt to include them again. Here are some example: 
Click here to learn more about preparing for Bona Fide Marriage Evidence.


Step 4: Make a copy of your Green Card

Check your Green Card again to make sure it’s not expired first and then make a photocopy of it. Remember to do both front and back! Black and white is totally fine.


Step 5: Prepare Fees


How much do I have to pay to remove conditions on residence?

Well, there are two key payments: 
  •  The Biometric Service Fee: $85 
  •  The Form I-751 fee: $595 
I separate the payment into two because I think it’s more clear what each fee is for. It’s totally fine to combine them if you wish though! 


What payment methods are accepted? 

Several options are available for you: 


Do I need to include biometric service?

This is an interesting question. It’s quite confusing on the instructions actually. It did mention below: 
  1. Conditional Resident. Each conditional resident and conditional resident dependent included in the principal petitioner’s Form I-751 is required to submit a biometric services fee with this petition, in addition to the required filing fee. (See the What Is the Filing Fee section of these Instructions.) 
  2. U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse. If you are the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, you do not need to include a biometric services fee at the time this petition is submitted. If USCIS later notifies you that you must submit your biometrics, you will receive a biometric services appointment notice with instructions on how to submit the additional fee. 
 I wasn’t sure which category I am supposed to be in so I just included the biometric service fee anyways. I figured if it’s not needed, they can just ignore it. Another good reason to keep each payment separate. 

Update: It turns out that they do require a biometric service fee! They cashed out my bio payment at the same time and I got my bio appointment again even though they already took the bio last time.


Step 6: Put your package together

As usual, all payments have to be on top so the agent can see them right away. Without correct payments, they will reject directly without further review. After that you need to include your Green Card copy, and other evidence together. I used a paper clip to hold all documents together and labeled them nicely. Here's my order:


Form I-751 Checklist


Step 7: Find a shipping carrier

There are really only two main addresses depending on which carrier you are using: (This is just an example) 


If you use U.S. Postal Service (USPS): 
USCIS 
Attn: I-751 
 P.O. Box 21200 
 Phoenix, AZ 85036-1200 

If you use FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries: 
 USCIS 
 Attn: I-751 (Box 21200) 
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S 
Suite 100 
 Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850 

I shipped mine with UPS this time because we all heard about the long wait time and delays on USPS packages. The fee is slightly higher than USPS but it’s worth it for me. At least I don’t have to worry about losing track of the package or the package being delivered late, etc.


Step 8: Do a final review!

It’s always good to do a final review on a few things before you wrap up everything! 
Here are a few tips: 
  • Use black ink for handwriting parts 
  • Write “Original Submission” on the package if this is the first time you apply 
  • Make sure all forms are current and not expired 
  • Learn More! 
Download my cover letter sample and you will also receive a complete checklist!


Step 9: The Interview

While an interview for Form I-751 application is generally required, some applicants did report that they did not need to do an interview. Maybe when USCIS determines that your application is perfect then you might be able to skip the interview process (if you are lucky!) 

My personal application is still in the process, so I will come back and update you all on this part!


Step 10: Wait for the notifications!

How long does it take to receive notifications/updates? 

It was about 2-3 weeks after I mailed my application before I received a text message notifying me that they had received my application. After a couple of days, I received an official I-797 notice in the mail. Check out my real timeline below! My application is still ongoing so stay tuned! 

  • 4/9 Mailed out the I-751 application package 
  • 4/12 Package tracking showed that it’s arrived 
  • 5/1 Received a confirmation text message from USCIS 
  • 5/3 Received the I-797 notice in the mail 
  • 8/24 Received a mail notice for biometrics appointment 
  • 9/8 Completed the bio appointment 
  • My application is going, so check back for more updates!
How is your application going? What do you want to know more about? Share with me in the comment!

Learn more:

How long does it take to receive my EAD card in 2021? (Updated November 2021)

 I know many of you are anxious about when you will be able to receive your I-765 Employment Authorization Card (EAD). Therefore, I put together some of my readers' timelines to give you an idea. 

How long does it take to receive my EAD card in 2021?

How long does it take to receive my EAD card in 2021?

As USCIS struggles to clear up a huge backlog on issuing EAD cards, many applicants are worried and waiting anxiously. Here are a few real timelines from my dear readers for your reference. I hope this will ease your mind a little bit and give you an idea of what to expect:

How long does it take to receive my EAD card in 2021? (Updated November 2021)
According to USCIS's website, the current processing time for I-765 application is around 9 to 10 months. (see the chart below)

This is a new system of calculating the processing time. They give you a range of time instead of a firm number. 
  • The first number means the time they need to process 50% of the cases;
  • The second one is the time they need to process about 93% of the cases. 
See more details in this post: USCIS Tests a New Way of Calculate Processing Times



As you can see, some of my readers' real cases are actually taking longer than what USCIS posts on their website. I think this may be because the estimated time range from USCIS is being updated every months and it really various case by case. So I would suggest you check the processing time range once a month to make sure your case is still within the range before you contact the agency!

I hope this information helps! Good luck!

More USCIS Updates here:

How long does it take to receive Form I-751 Approval?

How long does it take to receive Form I-751 Approval?

How long does it take to receive Form I-751 Approval?

With COVID-19, there’s no certain answer unfortunately. Before COVID-19 affected everything, most people reported around 12-18 months wait time. I just checked USCIS’s official processing time, it’s 22-36.5 months of wait time.

What happens when my green card expires with a pending I-751?

Don’t worry! Once you timely filed your Form I-751, the I-797C notice will extend your conditional residence for an additional 24 months (originally 18 months). Keep your I-797C in a safe place until this is over:) 

 The good news is, you don’t have to wait for I-751 approval to apply for your US citizenship. As soon as you are qualified, you can go ahead and move along with your citizenship application. Learn more about US citizenship qualification here.

Keep reading....

When can I File Form I-751 to Remove Conditions on Residence?

When can I File Form I-751 to Remove Conditions? 

When can I File Form I-751 to Remove Conditions on Residence?


The conditional permanent resident status (Conditional Green Card) is only valid for 2 years and it can not be renewed. What we need to do is to apply for a NEW Green Card. 

Most of you here received the original Green Card through marriage to a US citizen. The earliest date you can file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence to remove the conditions is 90 days before your Green Card expires. 

Note that if you file too early, USCIS will reject your application so be sure to get your date right! 

For example, if your Green Card is expired on August 4, 2021 then the earliest date you can file is on 5/6/2021 

How long is the next Green Card valid for? 

Once your I-751 application is approved, you will receive a 10-year Green Card. Once you are eligible to apply for US citizenship, you can do so within these 10 years.

Check here to learn more about:

How to Expedite EAD Work and Travel Permit Combo Card

Can’t wait to start working or traveling? Because of COVID-19, everything is moving so slowly and some of us are getting very stressed about losing job opportunities or missing out on planned trips, etc.

The good news is, there’s an option to expedite your work permit and travel permit! Here’s what you need to know about:

How to Expedite EAD Work and Travel Permit Combo Card

Are you eligible?

Not everybody is eligible to make an expedite request. (Otherwise everyone wants to get ahead of others right? lol) You must meet one or more of these following circumstance to be qualified:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or person 
  • Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons; 
  • Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States; 
  • U.S. government interests or 
  • Clear USCIS error 
Are you qualified? Keep in mind that the USCIS agent will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis so just because you submit a request, doesn’t mean that it will be approved.

How to request expedited processing for EAD & Travel Combo Card

1. You need to provide evidence and the receipt number 

Start collecting the documents you have that can prove that you really need your EAD here in time otherwise you are being impacted financially or in other ways. 

You will also need to have your receipt number ready for the agent to process this request so get it ready! 

2. Request expedited processing by calling the USCIS contact center at 1-800-375-5283. Or you can also ask Emma (the virtual assistant) for more information. 

3. The USCIS contact center will forward your request to the office with jurisdiction over your petition.

4. Wait for the reviewing office to request additional supporting documents if needed. 

5. Finally, the expedite decision will inform you whether USCIS will be able to make a decision faster than the normal processing time. 

One last tip for you - You can also look up the congressman in your county and write them a letter with your supporting documents. Sometimes they are able to help you move along with your case faster too! And this is not contradicting the expedite request with USCIS anyways. 


Keep Reading....

Certain Hong Kong Residents are Eligible for Employment Authorization

Certain Hong Kong Residents are Eligible for Employment Authorization

Are you a Hong Kong resident on "Deferred Enforced Departure" (DED)? You may be eligible for apply for employment authorization! USCIS recently announced more details on how to apply for employment authorization for eligible Hong Kong residents.

This announcement came after the Predisent's memorandum on August 5th, directing DED for 18 months, through Feb. 5th, 2023.

Who are eligible?

Deferred Enforced Departure applies to only certain eligible Hong Kong residents. If you present in the US as of August 5th, 2021 and continuously resided here since then. You may be eligible. 

How do I apply for DED?

There's no need to apply! Those who are eligible under DED will be automatically covered by the Department of Homeland Security. 

How do I apply for Employment Authorization Document?

Submit form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

You can also apply for travel authorization by submitting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. This will allow you to travel based on Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

Click here to check cover letter templates!

[Q&A] Do I Need to Apply for Form I-131 and I-765?

Many of our readers are in the process of applying for their Green Card and this question comes up very frequently! Do I need to apply for Form I-131 and I-765? Let’s look at it closer:

Are Form I-131 and Form I-765 Required?

[Q&A] Do I Need to Apply for Form I-131 and I-765?


Form I-131 is an application for Travel Document and Form I-765 is an application for Employment Authorization. Both of these documents are only needed for the transition time while your Green Card application is pending. The purpose of these two forms is to allow you to travel and work with a pending Green Card I-485 application.

In other words, once your Green Card is approved, you will no longer need these two documents for work and travel.

By the way - USCIS is issuing combo cards that combine travel and work permits on one single card now if you haven’t heard of.

So do you need to apply for them? It’s really up to you! I would recommend applying for the combo card along with your I-485 application whether you think you would need it or not! Why?

A couple of reasons:

  • It’s free of charge with your I-485 application! (It may change later on, but it currently requires no additional fees if you apply together) 
  • You never know if you will need to travel or work before your Green Card shows up! Especially during COVID-19, everything is slow, so why not?

Click here to see how to apply for these two and how I applied for my Green Card I-485 with No RFE here!

Ebook and cover letter samples are also available if you haven’t checked them out!

*Solved* The USCIS Forms are Expired? What should I do?

Just when you are about to submit your application, you realize that the forms you filled have an expired date on them. What should we do? 

Don’t picnic - First check on USCIS’s official website to see if that is the latest version of forms. If it is, you are good to go. If there’s a newer version available, you HAVE TO use the up-to-date forms. 
The USCIS Form on the Website is Expired - What do I do?

The USCIS Form on the Website is Expired - What do I do?

What if the latest form is expired? Not a problem. You can use that latest form available on USCIS’s website. As long as that is the newest on the official website, even if it’s expired, it’s still valid! The agents are just too busy and not being able to update these forms in time. 

 That’s it! Easy right? Check out more filing tips and tricks here:

Conditional Permanent Residents with Pending Form I-751 Now Valid for 24 Months!

Are you a conditional permanent resident with a pending Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence? You can now use your receipt notice as an evidence of status for 24 months! Let's hear more details:

Conditional Permanent Residents with Pending Form I-751 Now Valid for 24 Months!

USCIS Extends evidence of status for conditional permanent residents to 24 months

Originally, USCIS offers 18 months validity period for conditional permanent residents to use their receipt notice as an evidence of status, now USCIS is extending that validity period to 24 months (two years!)

Who is eligible?

Petitioners who properly filed:

  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence OR
  • Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status

Why the change?

This is due to the long processing times on Form I-751 and Form I-829 over the past year. 

How does this affect my status?
If you are a conditional permanent resident with a pending Form I-751 or Form I-829, you can show your receipt notice along with your Green Card as a proof of continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date on your permanent resident card. 


Learn more:

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