The Purpose of Conditional Permanent Residency and How To Remove Conditional Status

Conditional permanent residency is required for a few different residency options. One of the most common is for a person who has just married a United States citizen, and now has conditional residence until the marriage is proven to be legitimate.

What is Conditional Permanent Residency?

A conditional permanent resident has received a lawful permanent residency card (also known as a conditional green card) but only for a period of two years. The conditional permanent resident card gives the same privileges as a regular green card — to live and work in the United States — but lasts only two years instead of the usual ten. Sometime within 90 days of the two year expiration, the conditional resident must file a form to remove their conditions and get a regular green card that will be valid for the next ten years.

Note: if you miss this 90 day filing period, you will lose your conditional residency and may not be able to get it back!

What is the purpose of Conditional Permanent Residency?

Citizenship in the United States carries responsibility. In certain situations “Green Card Marriages” have been used to attain citizenship in non-earnest ways.

The USCIS has instituted policies to ensure that permanent residency is given to people who marry a US citizen or lawful resident in good faith, who follow the proper procedures and do not skirt the process. The two years of conditional residency serves as a “test” to verify the legitimacy of the marriage between a foreigner and a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.

How to Remove Conditional Status

Begin by filling the appropriate form, Form I-751.

You will be required to pay a fee, and you will need photocopies of your permanent residence card and your family member’s lawful status. Form I-751 will carry a fee of $595, and an additional $85 per biometric fee. Form I-751 is a joint petition, with both spouses filing and signing the form.

Along with the form, you will need to submit evidence that your marriage is a real one. Evidence commonly submitted includes:

  • Photographs taken together during the two year period of conditional residence
  • Birth certificates of any children you have had together
  • Details on co-ownership of assets such as homes, automobiles, bank accounts, etc.
  • Joint taxes, insurances, bills etc.
  • Affidavits from other individuals who can vouch for you as a married couple

Trying to understand the complexities of the USCIS system, and all applicable forms and fees can be intimidating. At Law Office of Christine Contreras, we have been at the front lines of this issue for more than 19 years. We see the law change, and we know what it will take to help you. If you are petitioning to remove your conditions, or entering into a marriage with a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident, reach out to us for consultation today!