Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status on the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjustment of your status to permanent residence. If your marriage is already two years old when you either arrived at the U.S. border with an immigrant visa or receives approval for a green card, he or she will receive permanent residency and won’t have to worry about the status expiring, although the actual card will need to be replaced once every ten years. Your status is conditional because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence with USCIS.
What are the USCIS eligibility requirements to remove permanent residence conditions?
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. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
- 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 you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.
How do I apply to remove the conditions on my U.S. green card?
You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing petition to remove conditions with USCIS. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. Please remember that despite the fact that you may see word “anniversary” used regarding the filing date for removal of conditions, your actual wedding date is completely irrelevant to determining the window of time during which you may file for removal of conditions. “Anniversary” in regards to your immigration process refers to the date on your conditional green card.
When do I apply to remove conditions on my green card?
If you are filing jointly with your U.S. citizen spouse, your petition to remove conditions must be filed within the 90 days just preceding the expiration date on your permanent residence card. This is the date that your conditional residence expires. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status and be removed from the country.
What if I am no longer married to my spouse or if I have been battered or abused by my U.S. citizen or lawful permanent-resident spouse or parent?
You can apply to waive the joint filing requirement if you are no longer married to your spouse, or if you have been battered or abused by your U.S.-citizen or lawful permanent-resident spouse or parent.
You may apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence at any time after you become a conditional resident, but before you are removed from the country. You must provide evidence that removal from the United States would cause you extreme hardship. For more information on extreme hardship, please read more here. For assistance with your waiver, petition or any other green card concern you may have, please call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office. Our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys can help you today!
If I am late in applying, can I still ask USCIS to remove the conditions on my residence?
Yes. The petition to remove conditions can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the appropriate Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.
However, it is very important to file on time if at all possible. If you fail to properly file your petition to remove conditions within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident:
- Your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and we will begin removal proceedings against you
- You will receive a notice from us telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions
- You will receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements (USCIS is not responsible for proving that you did not comply with the requirements)
How do I get a USCIS waiver of the requirement to file a joint petition?
If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You may request consideration of more than one waiver provision at a time.
You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements if:
- Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship
- You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition
- You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you or your child were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition
For assistance with your waiver, please contact JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office for a FREE consultation. Our experienced immigration attorneys can help you today!
What if I am in divorce proceedings but have not yet divorced but need to file a petition with USCIS?
If you are still married, but legally separated and/or in pending divorce or annulment proceedings, and:
- You filed a waiver request. We will issue a request for evidence (RFE) specifically asking for a copy of the final divorce decree or annulment (if applicable).
- You filed a petition to remove conditions jointly. We will issue a request for evidence (RFE) specifically asking for a copy of the final divorce decree or annulment and a statement that you would like to have your joint filing petition treated as a waiver.
Upon receipt of the final divorce decree or annulment within the specified time period, USCIS will amend the petition, to indicate that eligibility has been established for a waiver of the joint filing requirement based on the termination of the marriage. We can assist you with your waiver. Please call or email our experienced immigration attorneys and we can help you today!
Do I have to obtain a work permit from USCIS for employment in the U.S.?
No, as a permanent resident, you should have received a green card. This card will continue to prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently. If you file your petition on time, USCIS will extend your conditional resident status until a decision has been made on your application. You will be sent a notice reflecting this.
Will I have to go to a USCIS interview to remove the conditions on my green card?
An interview may be required to demonstrate eligibility to remove the conditions on your residence. If an interview is required you will receive an appointment notice telling you when and where to appear for your interview.
If my application is denied, how do I appeal the USCIS decision?
If your application to remove the conditions on your permanent residence is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. The process to remove you from the country will begin as soon as your application is denied. You will be allowed to have an immigration judge review the denial of your application during removal proceedings. During this review, USCIS must prove that the facts on your application were untruthful and/or that your application was properly denied. If the immigration judge decides to remove you from the country, you may appeal this decision.
In general, you may appeal within 30 days after the immigration judge decides to remove you from the country. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Washington, D.C. Our experienced immigration attorneys can help you with your appeal and take your case to Washington. Our focus in exclusively on immigration law, and we stay on the forefront of the changing immigration laws. Call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office today!
Can I remove conditions from my child’s conditional green card?
If your child received conditional resident status within 90 days of when you did, then your child may be included in your application to remove the conditions on permanent residence. Your child must file a separate I-751 application if your child received conditional resident status more than 90 days after you did. If you would like assistance in bringing your dependent loved ones or obtaining lawful permanent status for them, please contact our immigration lawyers in Los Angeles.