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  • Writer's pictureJarbath Peña Law Group PA

Removal of Conditions for a Conditional Green Card


If you received your green card through marriage to a U.S. national or permanent green-card resident and were married less than two years before your green card was approved—you would have received what is known as a “conditional” green card. This conditional card is only valid for two years. Before your card expires, you will need to apply for the Removal of the Conditions to get a 10-year green card as your next step to becoming a permanent U.S. resident.

A Quick History of the Conditional Green Card

Immigration by marriage is one of the primary ways to immigrate into the U.S., and initial estimates were that one in three of these marriages was a sham. This statistic has been shown to be grossly exaggerated because less than 1% of marriage-based green card applications are considered fraudulent. However, armed with the original estimates in 1986, Congress introduced the “conditional green card” as a deterrent to these types of marriages. These conditional green cards (CR-1 visas) have remained a part of the marriage-based immigration process because they give USCIS a second chance to revisit these marriages and determine how genuine they are.

How Does Conditional Residency Work?

Suppose marriage to a U.S. resident or permanent resident green card holder is the basis for your application for immigration to the U.S. In that case, you will be issued a two-year non-renewable conditional green card. From there, you will need to apply to remove the conditions toward your permanent resident status by filing a petition within the 90-day period before your conditional card expires. To remove the conditional status, you will need to once again prove that your marriage is still real and viable after two years. If you do, you will receive a renewable permanent green card that is valid for 10 years.


Applying for the Removal of Conditions

To get your permanent green card after having a conditional green card, you will need to file a “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.” There are a few things to keep in mind when filing this Petition:

  1. You must file this Petition during the 90-day window before your conditional green card expires. If you apply before this window starts, the government will return your application. If you file it after your conditional green card expires, it will be denied unless you can show extenuating circumstances.

  2. You will need to show evidence of being married and building a life with your spouse over the prior two years. USCIS will look for evidence like joint financial documents, having children together, and photos of you and your spouse together.

  3. The Petition needs to be filled out with our spouse, and both of you need to sign it.

  4. You will need to include a filing fee (currently $595) and a biometrics fee (currently $85), along with a copy of the front and back of your conditional green card.

  5. As of April 7, 2022, USCIS might choose to waive the interview with a USCIS officer before removing the conditions on your residency. Typically, USCIS waives this interview if you submit strong enough evidence to convince the officer that your marriage is legitimate.

Possible Reasons for Denial

The Petition to Remove Conditions is typically denied for only three reasons:

  1. USCIS suspects the marriage is fraudulent,

  2. You failed to provide enough documentation of a life built with your spouse over the last two years, or

  3. You filed the Petition late without providing extenuating circumstances.

Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help to ensure that you file your Petition in a timely manner and provide all the evidence necessary to validate your marriage. The attorney can also respond to any Requests for Evidence (RFE) that you might get from USCIS.

Other Circumstances

Other circumstances could arise during the two-year period that impedes your ability to remove the conditions.

Divorce

You can still apply to remove the conditions to your CR1 visa and get a permanent resident card if your marriage falls apart during the two-year period. However, you will need to do the following:

  • Request that the rule requiring your spouse to file the form with you be waived, and

  • You will still need to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

Overall, your case will be stronger if you can show that the U.S. citizen who sponsored your marriage-based green card was at fault for ending the marriage and that they requested the divorce. It will strengthen your case even more if you can show attempts to save the marriage, such as going to marriage counseling. Also, you don’t have to wait until the usual 90-day window for filing the Petition if your divorce is finalized before that time. You can submit your Petition for the Removal of Conditions any time after the divorce, and you should include a copy of the final divorce decree with your application packet.

Spouse Died

If your spouse dies within the two-year waiting period, you can still get the conditions on your permanent residency removed. You will need to file your spouse’s death certificate along with the usual evidence of your shared life together. And just like with a divorce, you don’t have to wait until the usual 90-day window. You can file your Petition any time between your spouse’s death and the expiration of your green card.

Spousal Abuse

If you left your spouse because of abuse, you could still apply to have the conditions on your permanent residency removed. You will need to include evidence of the abuse, such as photographs, medical reports detailing injuries, restraining orders, and affidavits from domestic violence shelters. If the abuse led to divorce, you should include a copy of your divorce decree.

Let Us File Your Petition for You

Whether it is the initial process of getting your first green card or putting together the necessary paperwork for timely filing your Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, we are here for you. We are the Jarbath Peña Law Group, and we specialize in both immigration and family law. We are proud to offer a client-centered approach, and we can help your immigration process go smoothly. We won’t let you miss any filing dates. We know what the USCIS is looking for, and we’ll be sure to complete your Petition fully, accurately, and on time. Contact us today using our convenient online form, or call us at (305) 615-1005.If you received your green card through marriage to a U.S. national or permanent green-card resident and were married less than two years before your green card was approved—you would have received what is known as a “conditional” green card. This conditional card is only valid for two years. Before your card expires, you will need to apply for the Removal of the Conditions to get a 10-year green card as your next step to becoming a permanent U.S. resident.

A Quick History of the Conditional Green Card

Immigration by marriage is one of the primary ways to immigrate into the U.S., and initial estimates were that one in three of these marriages was a sham. This statistic has been shown to be grossly exaggerated because less than 1% of marriage-based green card applications are considered fraudulent. However, armed with the original estimates in 1986, Congress introduced the “conditional green card” as a deterrent to these types of marriages. These conditional green cards (CR-1 visas) have remained a part of the marriage-based immigration process because they give USCIS a second chance to revisit these marriages and determine how genuine they are.

How Does Conditional Residency Work?

Suppose marriage to a U.S. resident or permanent resident green card holder is the basis for your application for immigration to the U.S. In that case, you will be issued a two-year non-renewable conditional green card. From there, you will need to apply to remove the conditions toward your permanent resident status by filing a petition within the 90-day period before your conditional card expires. To remove the conditional status, you will need to once again prove that your marriage is still real and viable after two years. If you do, you will receive a renewable permanent green card that is valid for 10 years.

Applying for the Removal of Conditions

To get your permanent green card after having a conditional green card, you will need to file a “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.” There are a few things to keep in mind when filing this Petition:

  1. You must file this Petition during the 90-day window before your conditional green card expires. If you apply before this window starts, the government will return your application. If you file it after your conditional green card expires, it will be denied unless you can show extenuating circumstances.

  2. You will need to show evidence of being married and building a life with your spouse over the prior two years. USCIS will look for evidence like joint financial documents, having children together, and photos of you and your spouse together.

  3. The Petition needs to be filled out with our spouse, and both of you need to sign it.

  4. You will need to include a filing fee (currently $595) and a biometrics fee (currently $85), along with a copy of the front and back of your conditional green card.

  5. As of April 7, 2022, USCIS might choose to waive the interview with a USCIS officer before removing the conditions on your residency. Typically, USCIS waives this interview if you submit strong enough evidence to convince the officer that your marriage is legitimate.

Possible Reasons for Denial

The Petition to Remove Conditions is typically denied for only three reasons:

  1. USCIS suspects the marriage is fraudulent,

  2. You failed to provide enough documentation of a life built with your spouse over the last two years, or

  3. You filed the Petition late without providing extenuating circumstances.

Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help to ensure that you file your Petition in a timely manner and provide all the evidence necessary to validate your marriage. The attorney can also respond to any Requests for Evidence (RFE) that you might get from USCIS.

Other Circumstances

Other circumstances could arise during the two-year period that impedes your ability to remove the conditions.

Divorce

You can still apply to remove the conditions to your CR1 visa and get a permanent resident card if your marriage falls apart during the two-year period. However, you will need to do the following:

  • Request that the rule requiring your spouse to file the form with you be waived, and

  • You will still need to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

Overall, your case will be stronger if you can show that the U.S. citizen who sponsored your marriage-based green card was at fault for ending the marriage and that they requested the divorce. It will strengthen your case even more if you can show attempts to save the marriage, such as going to marriage counseling. Also, you don’t have to wait until the usual 90-day window for filing the Petition if your divorce is finalized before that time. You can submit your Petition for the Removal of Conditions any time after the divorce, and you should include a copy of the final divorce decree with your application packet.

Spouse Died

If your spouse dies within the two-year waiting period, you can still get the conditions on your permanent residency removed. You will need to file your spouse’s death certificate along with the usual evidence of your shared life together. And just like with a divorce, you don’t have to wait until the usual 90-day window. You can file your Petition any time between your spouse’s death and the expiration of your green card.

Spousal Abuse

If you left your spouse because of abuse, you could still apply to have the conditions on your permanent residency removed. You will need to include evidence of the abuse, such as photographs, medical reports detailing injuries, restraining orders, and affidavits from domestic violence shelters. If the abuse led to divorce, you should include a copy of your divorce decree.

Let Us File Your Petition for You

Whether it is the initial process of getting your first green card or putting together the necessary paperwork for timely filing your Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, we are here for you. We are the Jarbath Peña Law Group, and we specialize in both immigration and family law. We are proud to offer a client-centered approach, and we can help your immigration process go smoothly. We won’t let you miss any filing dates. We know what the USCIS is looking for, and we’ll be sure to complete your Petition fully, accurately, and on time. Contact us today using our convenient online form, or call us at (305) 615-1005.


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