A conditional permanent resident green card is issued to those foreign nationals who have been married to their U.S. citizen spouse for less than two years when they arrived in the U.S. or adjusted their status.
Once the foreign national receives their conditional card, they will be free to live and work within the U.S.
However, there are other important aspects about a conditional green card that you should be aware of.
1. Why is it conditional?
In any marriage-based application for a green card, the immigration authorities look very closely at whether the marriage is real or just a sham to get a green card. Due to concerns that recent marriage are more likely to be shams, immigration laws give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a second chance to review the validity of a marriage, by initially making the new immigrant a “condition,” not “permanent” resident.
It is important to note that a 90-day window open up one year and nine months after the conditional permanent green card is issued, during which time you must file another petition for removal of conditions. If you obtained your green card through marriage, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, before the date of expiration on your green card.
2. How long is your conditional resident green card valid for?
A conditional permanent resident green card is valid for two years; however, both the conditional and permanent green cards have the same privileges.
3. Can you review your conditional permanent green card?
In order to remain a permanent resident if you obtained your green card via marriage, you must file a petition to remove the conditions during the 90 days before your green card expires.
You may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:
>Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years;
>Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
>Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
>Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
>Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either your or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.
It is also important that during your two-year conditional residence you did not commit any acts which would cause USCIS to reject your petition.
Once your petition is approved, you will have a regular, unconditional permanent green card that is valid for up to 10 years.
If you apply either too early or too late, you should consult with an immigration attorney for advice so you may avoid removal.
4. How can you petition with USCIS to remove the conditions on your residence?
In order to remove the conditions on your residence based on marriage, you and your U.S. citizen spouse must submit a joint petition (Form I-751) to USCIS.
You must also submit documents to prove that you are both in an ongoing and bona fide marriage. Examples of possible documents include:
>leases with both names
>birth certificates of any children
If your permanent residence status is conditional because it is based on an EB-5 investment visa, you will need to prove that you did invest in a business or new enterprise in the U.S., and that you met the other requirements for investors seeking U.S. residence.
Please note that there is a very special time frame within the 90-day period immediately before the second-year anniversary of the receipt of your green card. During this time, you must submit Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
5. What happens if you don’t file to remove the conditions on your residence?
If you do not have the conditions removed from your green card, it will become invalid at the end of your two-year residency and your residency status will be terminated.
Your residency status will also be terminated if you don’t properly file your petition within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident.
If your residency status is terminated, you will be moved into removal proceedings by USCIS. You will receive a notice from USCIS letting you know that you failed to remove the conditions and will be given a Notice to Appear at a hearing.
Note: A previous version of this post was published on our blog on 2/4/15. It has been updated as of 8/5/19.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.