If you are a conditional permanent resident who obtained status through marriage, you will want to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status—or you risk losing your lawful status.
What does “Conditional Permanent Resident Status” mean?
US permanent resident status will be conditional when based on a marriage that was less than two years old when a person is given permanent residence (green card). That means your conditional permanent resident status is only valid for two years and cannot be renewed if you either:
- Received your conditional permanent resident status through marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Were admitted to the United States as a fiancé(e) of a US citizen and then married the US citizen
You may also file for the removal of conditions if you are:
- A widow or widower of a marriage entered in good faith
- Your marriage was annulled or you divorced, but it can be proved the marriage was entered in good faith
- The marriage was ended due to a spouse or child being subjected to abuse or extreme hardship
You must file a petition to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status or risk losing your lawful status.
How do I file for the removal of conditions and change from temporary permanent resident to permanent resident?
In order to remove the conditions from your permanent resident status, you must file USCIS Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. In order to remove the conditions of residence, the couple must prove the marriage is bonafide, or, legitimate. In fact, this is the most important element when filing and ample evidence must be submitted to prove the legitimacy of the marriage. Examples of evidence that can be submitted as evidence of a legitimate marriage include:
- Documents showing joint ownership of property or bank accounts
- Documents such as a 401K showing a spouse as the beneficiary
- Joint tax returns
- Birth certificates of any children from the marriage
It is extremely important that you file for the removal of conditions within the 90-day window before the second anniversary of your marriage.
What happens if I miss the 90-day filing window, or my removal of conditions is denied?
As soon as the 90-day filing window has passed, the conditional residence status will be terminated and USCIS will begin removal proceedings against you. You will then be given the opportunity to refute the evidence against you at a hearing—that is to say, you will have to show you complied with all requirements.
If your form was filed on time but the application to remove the conditions was denied, you will be informed of the reasons why and the process to remove you from the country will begin. An appeal can be made within 30 days of the immigration judge’s decision to remove you.
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We Can Help!
Don’t know where to start? The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping foreign nationals (especially Canadians) live and work in the United States. If you need assistance filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence, contact us today for a free assessment of your case.