A conditional permanent resident green card is issued to immigrants who have been married to their U.S. citizen spouse for less than two years when they entered the United States or adjusted their status. Once an individual receives the conditional permanent resident green card, they are free to work, live and travel to and from the United States freely. Let’s take a closer look at the five facts you need to know about conditional green cards.
Why is it conditional?
In any application for a green card that is based on marriage, immigration authorities will inspect closely to see if the marriage is real or just a pretended one, to get a green card. Immigration law gives USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) a second chance to review the validity of a marriage by making the green card “conditional”.
A ninety day window opens up one year and nine months after the conditional permanent green card is issued, during which you must file a petition for removal of condition – the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence or the I-751 form needs to be filed before your green card expires.
How long is a conditional resident green card valid?
A conditional permanent resident green card is valid for two years after being issued. That being said, both permanent green card and conditional permanent green card holders enjoy the same privileges.
Can you review your conditional permanent green card?
In order to remain a permanent resident after obtaining your green card through marriage, you are required to file a petition to remove the conditions associated with your green card during the 90 days before your green card is set to expire.
You can file the petition to remove your conditions if you:
- Are still married to the same U.S. permanent resident or citizen after 2 years.
- Are a child and cannot be included in your parent’s application.
- Are a widow or widower that entered the marriage in good faith.
- Entered the marriage in good faith but the marriage ended in annulment or divorce.
- Entered the marriage in good faith but you or your child were subjected to abuse by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.
It is also important that during your two year conditional residency you did not commit any acts that would warrant a rejection on your petition by USCIS.
After your petition is approved by USCIS, you will be granted an unconditional permanent green card that is valid for 10 years. If you apply too late or too early, you should seek legal counsel with an experienced immigration lawyer in order to avoid removal from the United States.
How can you petition to remove the conditions associated with your green card?
You will be required to submit documents that prove your marriage is ongoing and legitimate. These documents can include leases with both of your names, the birth certificates of any children resulted from the marriage, shared bank accounts or memberships.
If your permanent residence status is conditional because it is based on the EB-5 investment visa, you will need to provide proof that you invested in a new enterprise or business in the U.S. and that you met the requirements for U.S. residence based on investment.
During a 90 day period immediately before the second year after the receiving the green card you must file the I-829 Form – Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident status. By working with an investment immigration lawyer, you can ensure the success of your petition.
What happens if you don’t file the petition to remove conditions on your residence?
If you do not file the petition to remove the conditions associated with your green card, it will expire at the end of the two-year residency. Your residency status will be terminated and you will have to file for another green card.
If you don’t properly file the petition within the 90 day period before your conditional green card expires, your residency status will again be terminated.
Once your residency status is terminated, USCIS starts removal proceedings. You will receive a letter from USCIS letting you know that you failed to remove the conditions associated with your green card, along with a Notice to Appear at a hearing.
Only by working with an experienced immigration lawyer you can ensure that your petition to remove the conditions associated with your green card is successful.