What is a conditional resident status?
Conditional resident status, often referred to as “conditional green card,” is a temporary form of lawful permanent residency (LPR) granted to certain individuals who have obtained their green cards through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. It is a two-year period of residency that comes with specific requirements and conditions.
Conditional resident status is typically granted to individuals who are in a bona fide marriage that is less than two years old at the time they are granted permanent residency. The purpose of this two-year condition is to ensure that marriages entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws are thoroughly examined and verified.
Key points about conditional resident status:
- Two-Year Validity: When an individual is granted conditional resident status, they receive a green card that is valid for two years from the date of approval.
- Proving Bona Fide Marriage: During the two-year conditional period, the couple must continue to demonstrate that their marriage is genuine and not a sham. They will be required to provide evidence of their shared life together, financial interdependence, and other indicators of a legitimate marital relationship.
- Joint Filing for Removal of Conditions: Within the 90-day window before the two-year conditional green card expires, the couple must jointly file a petition (Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) to have the conditions removed from the green card. This petition is meant to prove that the marriage is still genuine and ongoing.
- Interview and Evidence: USCIS typically requires an interview for the Form I-751 petition. The couple will need to provide additional evidence of their continued marriage and shared life since receiving the initial conditional green card.
- Exceptions: In some cases, USCIS may waive the joint filing requirement if the couple has divorced, if there has been abuse or extreme hardship, or if the U.S. citizen spouse has died.
- Unconditional Permanent Residency: If the Form I-751 petition is approved, the conditional status is removed, and the individual is granted full, unconditional permanent residency.
- Potential Consequences of Non-Compliance: If the couple fails to file the Form I-751 petition on time or if USCIS determines that the marriage was fraudulent, the individual’s conditional resident status could be terminated, leading to removal proceedings.
It’s important to follow the rules and regulations related to conditional resident status carefully to avoid any complications in your immigration status. If you have questions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney who can guide you through the process and help you navigate the requirements.
How to remove the conditions on my residence?
To remove the conditions on your residence and transition from conditional resident status to unconditional lawful permanent residency (LPR), you need to file a petition to remove conditions on your green card. This petition is filed using Form I-751, “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.” Here’s how the process generally works:
- Timing: You should file the Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately before the expiration date on your conditional green card. If you fail to file within this timeframe, your conditional resident status may expire, and you could face potential removal proceedings.
- Eligibility: You are eligible to file Form I-751 if you obtained conditional resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. If you are a child who obtained conditional resident status through your parent’s marriage, you may be included in their Form I-751 petition.
- Joint Filing: If you are still married to the same spouse through whom you obtained your conditional green card, you will generally file the Form I-751 jointly with your spouse. This joint filing helps demonstrate that your marriage is still genuine and ongoing.
- Waiver of Joint Filing: If you are no longer married to your spouse due to divorce, abuse, or other circumstances, you may be eligible to request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You will need to provide evidence to support your request.
- Documenting Continued Marriage:
- Regardless of whether you file jointly or request a waiver, you will need to provide evidence that your marriage is still genuine and ongoing. This can include joint financial documents, shared assets, correspondence, photos, and other proof of your continued life together.
- Filing Form I-751:
- Complete and sign Form I-751, along with any required supporting documents.
- Pay the filing fee and biometric services fee (if applicable). As of my last update, the filing fee was $595, and the biometric services fee was $85. Verify the current fees on the USCIS website.
- Biometric Appointment: After submitting your Form I-751, USCIS may schedule you for a biometric appointment to capture your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
- Interview: In some cases, USCIS may schedule an interview to further assess the legitimacy of your marriage and your eligibility for removal of conditions.
- Approval: If USCIS is satisfied with the evidence and information you provided, they will approve your Form I-751 petition. You will receive a new 10-year green card, signifying unconditional permanent residency.
- Denial: If USCIS finds issues with your petition, they may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). Respond to any requests promptly and provide the necessary evidence.
It’s crucial to carefully follow the instructions provided on the USCIS website and the Form I-751 instructions. If you have any concerns or questions, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that your petition is properly prepared.
What documents do I need to submit to remove conditions on my residence?
When filing Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residence (conditional green card), you will need to provide supporting documents that demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage and continued marital relationship. These documents help USCIS verify that your marriage is genuine and ongoing. Here’s a list of documents you should consider including with your Form I-751 petition:
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence:
- Complete and sign the form with accurate information.
- Evidence of Shared Life:
- Joint bank account statements showing shared finances.
- Joint lease or mortgage agreements for your shared residence.
- Joint utility bills (electricity, water, etc.) with both spouses’ names.
- Joint insurance policies (auto, health, etc.).
- Joint credit card statements or loans.
- Recent photos of you and your spouse together, with family and friends.
- Photos from significant life events, trips, holidays, etc.
- Correspondence and Communication:
- Copies of emails, text messages, letters, cards, and other forms of communication that demonstrate your ongoing relationship.
- Affidavits from Friends and Family:
- Sworn affidavits from people who know you as a couple and can attest to the authenticity of your marriage.
- Financial Documents:
- Tax returns filed jointly or separately, along with IRS transcripts.
- W-2s and 1099s showing joint income.
- Pay stubs or employment verification for both spouses.
- Evidence of Joint Ownership:
- Proof of joint ownership of property, assets, or other valuable items.
- Title documents, purchase agreements, or other relevant records.
- Circumstantial Evidence:
- Anything else that can establish the authenticity of your relationship, such as invitations to family events, holiday celebrations, or other gatherings.
- Divorce or Death Certificates (if applicable):
- If either spouse was previously married, provide divorce decrees or death certificates to demonstrate the termination of previous marriages.
- Form I-751 Filing Fee and Biometric Services Fee:
- Include the required fees as specified in the USCIS instructions. Verify the current fees on the USCIS website.
Remember that the goal is to provide a comprehensive picture of your shared life and ongoing marital relationship. USCIS will use these documents to assess the legitimacy of your marriage and your eligibility to have the conditions on your green card removed. Carefully review the USCIS instructions and guidelines to ensure you provide the necessary evidence for your specific situation. If you have concerns or questions, consulting with an immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance.