A conditional green card refers to the two-year immigrant visa granted to marriage-based applicants. If a green card holder obtained his or her status through marriage and at the time the green card was approved the couple had been married for less than two years, the green card is conditional, not permanent, and has a two-year expiration date.
To obtain permanent residence and remove conditional status, the green card holder and his or her spouse must file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) within 90 days of the expiration of permanent residence, i.e., within 90 days before the second anniversary of when the green card was issued.
Generally, you must apply to remove the conditions on permanent residence with your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or stepparent (called “filing jointly”) if you are still married to the same U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident after two years, or your parent is still married to the same U.S. citizen spouse or lawful permanent resident after two years and you are not included in your parent’s Form I-751.
You may file Form I-751 without your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or stepparent if any of the following conditions applies:
- The permanent resident spouse or stepparent is deceased.
- You married in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment.
- You married in good faith, but you and/or your child(ren) were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.
- Your parent married in good faith, but you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident stepparent or parent.
- The termination of your status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.
How to Apply to Remove the Conditions
If you are required to file jointly, you and your spouse or stepparent must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751.
You must file your Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately before your conditional residence expires if you are filing Form I-751 jointly with your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. The expiration date on your Green Card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional permanent resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional permanent resident status and potentially be removed from the country.
If You File Late
If you file your Form I-751 after the 90-day period, you must include a written explanation as to why you are filing late. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will determine whether there was good cause for the failure to file your Form I-751 within the required time period.
Having a green card (officially known as a permanent residence card) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.
If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) based on your family relationship if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
You are an immediate relative if you are, the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen, or the parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).
If you are the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen’s immediate relative, you must independently qualify for a Green Card and file your own application. You cannot qualify for a Green Card as the derivative beneficiary based on the immediate relative’s application.
Citizenship and Immigration Services
You may obtain citizenship and immigration services in several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.
A marriage green card allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to live and work anywhere in the United States. A green card holder will have a “permanent resident” status until they decide to apply for U.S. citizenship, for which they become eligible after three years.
The total processing time for a marriage-based green card is anywhere from 9-36 months, depending on whether you’re married to a U.S. citizen or a U.S. green card holder (lawful permanent resident). The government filing fee for applying for a marriage-based green card is $1,760 for a spouse living in the United States or $1,200 for a spouse living outside the United States. Note that this does not include the cost of the medical examination, which varies from roughly $200 to $500.
A conditional permanent resident receives a green card valid for two years. Your permanent resident status is a conditional green card if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you became a permanent resident. We give you conditional green card permanent resident status when you are either admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjust your status to that of a permanent resident.
Your status is conditional until you prove, after a specified period of time, that you did not enter the marriage to circumvent the immigration laws of the United States. To remove conditions, you must file form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence).
You cannot file Form I-90 to renew or replace your permanent resident card (rather than a conditional green card) if you are a conditional permanent resident.
Immigration laws and obtaining legal advice require a trusted attorney-client relationship and a reliable law firm. Here at Wolf Sultan Vasquez P.C., we are Tucson’s immigration lawyers dedicated to helping you obtain U.S. citizenship. Our experienced team offers expert legal advice that helps you determine how to best pay legal fees and move this process more quickly and easily.
If your goal is to become a U.S. citizen and have questions about specific information related to your U.S. citizenship and immigration status, we encourage you to contact us for the confidential relationship you need to achieve permanent residence. Please call now and rest assured that any sensitive or confidential information will be kept necessarily secure.