Individuals who were married less than two years on the day they became permanent residents (and any children who also received conditional resident status based on the marriage) will be issued a “conditional” green card, which is valid for just two years. Conditional green card holders will be required to file an I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, before their card expires to obtain a “permanent” green card, which must be renewed every 10 years.
To remove the conditions on residence, the applicant must provide evidence to show that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not to circumvent US immigration laws. If the marriage is still intact, the conditional resident must file jointly with his or her spouse or stepparent. When filed jointly with the US citizen or lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) spouse, Form I-751 must be filed during the 90-day period immediately before the conditional residence expires. If the conditional resident files the I-751 after the 90-day period, he or she must present evidence of good cause for failure to timely file the application, which USCIS may or may not accept. Failure to apply to remove the conditions in time may result in losing conditional resident status and potential removal from the US.
Under certain circumstances, a conditional resident can apply to waive the joint filing requirement. Generally, as long as the marriage was entered into in good faith and not to circumvent US immigration laws, a conditional resident can file to remove conditions without their spouse if:
1) Deportation or removal of the conditional resident would result in extreme hardship;
2) The US citizen or LPR spouse or stepparent has since died;
3) The marriage ended in divorce or annulment;
4) The conditional resident was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the US citizen or LPR spouse or stepparent;
The conditional resident may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement at any time before, during, or after the 90-day period immediately before the expiration of conditional residency.
In most cases, applicants will be called for a USCIS interview to demonstrate eligibility. If the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is approved, the applicant will gain permanent resident status and will be issued a permanent green card, valid for 10 years.