Conditional permanent residents receive a green card valid for two years. In order to remain a permanent resident, conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove conditions during the ninety days before their conditional green card expires. The conditional green card cannot be renewed.
This article will focus on removing conditions on green cards based on marriage.
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. Your status is conditional because there has been abuse of this immigrant category, for example paying a U.S. citizen to get married and then applying for permanent residence. To remove your conditions you must prove that your marriage was entered into in good faith, is not fraudulent and that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States.
If you are still married to the same person through whom you obtained conditional status, you and your spouse should apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing a petition to remove conditions with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
You may apply for a waiver of this joint filing requirement if:
- You are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith;
- You entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage is ending or was ended through divorce or annulment;
- You 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; or
- The termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship.
In such cases, you may apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence any time after you become a conditional resident, but before you are removed from the country.
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. If your child received conditional resident status more than 90 days after you did, your child must file a separate petition.
As a conditional permanent resident, you received a green card. If you file on time, your conditional resident status will be extended until a decision has been made on your application. You will be sent a notice reflecting the extension of your conditional resident status. Your green card will continue to prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States.
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. It is very important to thoroughly prepare for this interview. Documents should be prepared and responses to possible questions should be reviewed. The interview will be the difference in having your petition to remove the conditions from your green card approved or denied. Be prepared for it.
If you fail to properly file within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident:
- Your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and removal proceedings against you will begin.
- You will receive a notice 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
In some cases you can file after the ninety-day period if you can prove in writing that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director of the service center processing your petition has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.