A Conditional Green Card is a document that provides foreign nationals who are married to United States’ citizens a two-year residency. In this article you will learn more about how to remove conditions, requirements, timelines, processing time, renewal process, etc.8 min read
Foreign nationals who are looking to live and work permanently in the United States may be eligible for a conditional green card. This type of visa is granted to foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or who invest in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 visa program. In this essay, we will discuss in detail the different types of conditional green cards, as well as the process involved in obtaining one and removing its conditionality.
Conditional permanent residence can be a mandatory immigration step for some foreigners planning on residing in the U.S. It is essential that you are aware of all of the benefits and limitations that conditional green card status comes with and its effects on your family. On this page, you will learn all about this temporary green card, the meaning of this residence status, and how to make the upgrade to a permanent green card. VisaNation makes the entire marriage immigration process easy and simple. Get started today!
Bring Your Spouse to the U.S.
Getting married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident does not guarantee a full-fledged green card right off the bat. Conditional green cards are issued to individuals who have been married for less than 2 years at the point when their green card is approved and while you are authorized to live and work with this conditional green card it is valid for a finite time after which you have to update your status and petition to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. In this guide, we’ll explore how to obtain a conditional green card then how to transition to a “permanent” green card. VisaNation makes the entire marriage immigration process easy and simple. Get started today!
Bring Your Spouse to the U.S.
Divorce is hard and if you have a marriage green card, it can be even harder. If your marriage ends, it can affect your ability to stay in the US. There are different kinds of marriage green cards, and the type of card you have will determine what happens next.9 min read
The divorce process is a challenging end to any marriage. And if your relationship was based on a marriage green card, things can spiral into complex immigration issues.
Perhaps you’re wondering how a conditional green card divorce can affect your lawful U. residence. Will you continue being a US citizen if your marriage ends in divorce? What will be your smartest path to regaining US residency?
The type of your marriage green card is the main determinant of answers to these questions. Let’s dive deeper to unravel the riddles.
Условный вид на жительство
Если вы стали обладателем Грин карт и получили вид на жительство в результате брака с гражданином США, то на Грин Карт накладываются условия, а вы получаете статус условного резидента или условный вид на жительство (CR1 / CR2). Тот же статус присваивается эмигрантам или инвесторам EB-1.
Несовершеннолетние дети обладателей таких Грин Карт также получают условный вид на жительство Соединенных Штатов.
Условная зеленая карта обычно имеет срок действия 2 года. Обладатели таких карт, скажем условные постоянные жители США имеют те же права и обязанности, что и резиденты, но обладатель условной Грин Карты должен подать форму I-751 в Службы Гражданства и Иммиграции США (USCIS) об удалении условий c проживания, в течение двух лет с момента получения этого статуса.
Такая форма должна быть представлена в течение 90 дней после истечения 2 лет со дня получения статуса условного постоянного жителя Соединенных Штатов. В противном случае вы можете потерять свой иммиграционный статус.
Чтобы удалить условности из зеленой карты, которая выдана на основе брака с гражданином США, форма I-751 должна быть подана супругами вместе. Однако, если брак распался, супруг умер, или вы стали жертвой насилия со стороны супруга, вы можете подать форму I-751 самостоятельно. В таком случае вы можете подать форму в любое время после получения условной Грин Карты.
После подачи формы, USCIS отправляет уведомление о продлении статуса условного резидента Соединенных Штатов на срок до 12 месяцев. В течение этого времени будет рассмотрено заявление о снятии условности. В случае успешного решения выдаётся статус постоянного резидента Соединенных Штатов, а зеленая карта выдается сроком на 10 лет.
Conditional Green Card FAQs
Can you travel with a conditional green card?
With conditional green cards, but not yet lawful permanent residents, it is possible to travel in and out of the United States without getting a special visa, such as an immigrant visa.
Does a conditional green card count toward citizenship?
A conditional green card counts towards citizenship. As a law firm can explain to you, you’ll be able to apply to become a naturalized citizen within three years of receiving your conditional green card. This will allow you to obtain permanent residence based on your status. This involves being able to obtain birth certificates after the completion of the Form I-751
How long can I stay outside the US with a conditional green card?
You can stay outside the United States for a year and a day without a conditional green card. Generally, those with this type of green card have the same rights as those with a permanent green card.
What is the difference between CR1 and IR1?
A CR1 is a conditional marriage green card valid for a two-year period. An IR1 is a permanent green card valid for ten years. In either case, you don’t need a work permit but can work legally in the country.
What is the difference between CR1 and CR6?
The CR1 is a conditional marriage green card and came to the United States on an immigrant visa, approved abroad, while the CR6 shows that you’re the spouse of a United States citizen and came to the United States based on this marriage. It is valid for a two-year period.
What is the difference between a conditional and permanent green card?
The biggest difference is the resident status. One way to help get the conditions lifted is to show joint ownership of something, like a bank account.
What are the restrictions of a conditional green card?
You are not a full resident with a conditional green card. If you leave the country for more than a year, you are assumed to give up your status and have to start over. This will include having to start conditions removal proceedings at the appropriate time. You have to file to remove the conditions within a two-year period and your second anniversary. To prove your marriage is in good faith, you must provide supporting documents.
Can I cancel my spouse’s conditional green card status?
No, your spouse cannot cancel your conditional green card status. However, you can allege extreme cruelty, which may make it possible for you to proceed with obtaining a permanent green card on your own.
Can you work on a CR1 visa?
You can work on a CR1 visa. You can work for a public company or a private company.
How can I speed up my CR1 visa?
The first step is to follow the written instructions. If your marriage ended, you can continue the process on your own and file a petition to remove conditions.
How long does it take to remove the conditions on a green card?
It can take 12 to 18 months to process Form I-751. The thoroughness and accuracy of the application make a difference. However, conditions on your permanent green card may be related to your home country and recent marriages. Your petition may be delayed as a result of changes in your status, such as the addition of conditions on your permanent green card. The USCIS allows applicants to check their processing time online.
What is the cost to remove the conditions on a green card?
Once you petition to remove the conditions on your green card after your marriage to a U.S. citizen, you’ll find that your petition involves a fee, which is typical $595. You’ll have to pay an additional $85 biometrics fee, which must be paid for all applicants that petition to remove conditions. If you’re a family with multiple applicants, you can use the USCIS fee calculator to determine their total cost.
Is there an interview to remove conditions on the green card?
Sometimes, an interview is required to remove conditions on a green card. Until late April 2022, these interviews were required, but now it is based on risk assessments. If you do have to go to an interview, you’ll have to prove you know sensitive information about your spouse. Providing evidence of joint bank accounts is a great option. You may also want to have an immigration lawyer if you have to take part in an interview. This is all-important to be aware of when you file your petition to have your conditions of residence following your marriage to a U.S. citizen lifted.
An experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process for a foreign national and citizen spouse to ensure his or her spouse can remain in the country and together. Be sure your petition is in good hands. Having a good law firm on your side is a great idea when you’re dealing with immigration law and want to have the conditions on your conditional green card lifted so that you can take the next step toward becoming a citizen of your new country. Post a job on UpCounsel to see how we can help you get your conditions lifted today!
Petition to Remove Conditions
So your conditional green card is nearing the end of its validity period and now you need to petition to remove the conditions with Form I-751.
This is considered a joint petition to remove the conditions since both you and your partner will sign it (exceptions listed below to divorce, abuse, etc.)
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When do you file Form I-751?
You should plan to file within the 90-day window that your conditional green card expires. Know that this is considered a joint petition which means both partners should complete and sign the form together. Along with this form you will need to provide adequate evidence that your marriage is authentic. Documents like joint bills, joint lease/mortgages, photos of you both together, children (if any) are all important components in addition to a copy of your conditional green card plus the filing and biometric fees. A marriage green card lawyer will best be able to guide you about what documents to include in your filing package.
If you have dependent children who acquired conditional resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, then include the names and Alien Registration Numbers (A-Numbers) of these children in Part 5. of Form I-751 in order to request that the conditions on their status be removed as well.
Conditional Green Card Divorce
If you get divorced while you are considered to have a conditional residence, but prior to being considered to have a permanent residence, you may face extra risks to your immigration status. USCIS will require that you submit your divorce decree as part of the documentation.
Since “bad faith” is often included in these divorce cases because of the effort by the citizen spouse to prove that the foreign national spouse is trying to circumvent immigration laws, it may be better to let the divorce go to the court where the accusing spouse will have to prove that the marriage was in bad faith. If you still want to apply for permanent residency, you’ll want to have the joint filing requirement waived and provide evidence of the legitimacy of the marriage. You will also need to provide a copy of your final divorce decree. You’ll also need to show that your marriage was in good faith. Check our page about conditional green card divorce.
How Long Does It Take to Remove Conditions on a Green Card?
It is assumed that your goal is to become a permanent resident, as opposed to a conditional permanent resident. To transition from a conditional permanent resident to a permanent resident, you must remove the conditions or you will be required to leave the country, per citizenship and immigration services.
Divorcing During the Green Card Application Process
Terminating your marriage when applying for a green card can have potential consequences. The divorce can delay or even prevent the approval of your application for permanent resident status. Also, you may be unable to sponsor other family members for green cards in the future.
The USCIS scrutinizes immigration fraud thoroughly. They frown upon applicants who fail to disclose a divorce or fake marriage during the application process.
Why Divorce Can Threaten an Immigrant’s Conditional Resident Status
As seen, for the immigrant to convert conditional residency into permanent residency, they must prove that the marriage:
- Wasn’t a sham to secure a green card (it was in good faith)
- Was at least 2 years old after conditional green card approval
A conditional resident immigrant must remain married to a US citizen spouse to maintain conditional resident status. Otherwise, a divorce after a green card may terminate the status and lead to their deportation. Speak to your immigration lawyer for marriage for further advice.
What if I File for Divorce After Getting My Permanent Resident Card?
If you’ve gained permanent residence through marriage, the impact of divorce can be significant. Divorce after getting permanent residency may force the non-resident spouse to leave the US The reason is that the residency is based on marriage, and the marriage isn’t valid anymore.
The good news is that you can prevent this outcome in certain circumstances and ways. For example:
- Obtain a divorce from another country
- Prove that both of you entered into the marriage in good faith
But it’s crucial to consult an immigration attorney to find the best route.
What Happens if My Spouse Dies?
If your spouse dies, you might be wondering what happens to your conditional residence status or your permanent residence status. Even if your spouse dies prior to when the conditional residence expires in two years, you can still file Form I-751. Immigration may see this as an extreme hardship and make it possible for you to obtain permanent residence status based on your application alone. To apply for extreme hardship, you’ll have to provide evidence, which may help you attain permanent residency. This will need to be accompanied by your Form I-751.
What happens if I get an I-751 denial?
Sometimes the immigration officer will issue an I-751 denial. Most often, the officer denies a form I-751, due to lack of evidence. If you get a form I-751 denial, then immigration can, and usually does, begin deportation proceedings against you. This means the government will try to remove you from the U.S.
But all is not lost. You have a right to have the immigration judge reconsider your I-751, and you should take full advantage of this opportunity. When you ask the immigration judge to review the I-751, you will have a chance to submit more evidence. This additional evidence can take the form of not just documents but witness testimony.
If you end up in deportation proceedings due to an I-751 denial, it’s very important that you consult with an immigration attorney. You should also make sure that you never miss a court hearing date. (Be sure to learn more on how to check your immigration court date.)
What is a conditional green card?
A conditional green card is one that’s valid for two years. Some call it a “temporary green card.” Not everyone gets a conditional card, however. It’s only issued when the immigration agency known as “The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service” (USCIS) approves your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and your marriage was less than two years old at the time of approval. For example, if you married a U.S. citizen in January 2019 and USCIS approves your case in February 2020 then you’ll be given a conditional card valid for two years.
If you have a two-year green card then immigration may refer to you as a “conditional permanent resident.” Other ways to describe someone with a conditional green card are someone with a “temporary green card,” “conditional resident status,” or “conditional LPR status.” It can be confusing to know if your card is conditional because it looks very similar to a permanent green card. The main difference is the permanent green card is valid for 10 years and the conditional green card for two years. Otherwise, the two are almost identical.
It’s important to know why immigration issues temporary green cards. The law says that any marriage under two years is a presumed fake marriage. So the conditions on your green card require you to return to immigration in two years and re-prove your marriage or give a reason why you’re unable to do so.
Difference Between Permanent Resident and Conditional Permanent Resident
The key difference between a permanent resident and a conditional permanent resident is that the latter has specific restrictions placed on their residency status. One of the biggest distinctions between the two is the “testing period” that is placed on conditional permanent residents. The period lasts two years, during which you must fulfill the conditions of your stay.
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Filing Fee & Biometric Service Fee
The filing fee for Form I-751 is $595 while the biometric service fee is $85.
To get to the biometrics stage, your application must pass the initial assessment stages. This means that the USCIS will check whether you have provided all of the necessary documents and forms first, before allowing you to progress to the biometrics stage. VisaNation ensures that you have all of the necessary documentation and that your application is error-free. Start your application today!
What to Bring to Your Biometrics Appointment
Review your biometric appointment sheet to see what exactly they’d like you to bring. You’ll definitely need a form of government photo ID such as :
- Driver’s License
- Passport or ID issued by home country
- Military or state-issued photo ID
Do your best not to miss this appointment however, if you do need to reschedule it call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833) prior to the scheduled appointment date. If you do not show up to your appointment or reschedule it through the proper channels, USCIS will consider your application abandoned and subsequently deny it.
*Each conditional resident and conditional resident dependent included in the principal petitioner’s Form I-751 is required to submit a biometric services fee with this petition, in addition to the required filing fee.
U.S. lawful permanent resident spouses and U.S. citizens are not required to include the biometric service fee when the petition is submitted. At a later point USCIS may request it by sending you a biometric service appointment notice.
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Documents to Support Good Faith Marriage
- Birth certificates of children born during marriage if applicable
- Joint housing contracts like mortgages or leases
- Joint financial accounts (checking/savings), joint tax returns
- Insurance policies with the spouse as the beneficiary
- Joint utility bills
- Copies of military Leave and Earnings Statements showing receipt of Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) with family members for military members
- Sworn affidavits by friends who are familiar with the relationship
Conditional Green Card vs Permanent Green Card Timeline
- File Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions
- 6-8 weeks later you receive Form I-797C Notice of Action (receipt letter) from USCIS. This basically is letting you know that USCIS received and is processing your petition
- Make a copy of this letter and have it with you at all times along with your expired conditional green card as proof of your status. Keep the original letter in a secure place.
- A short time after, you’ll receive a letter from USCIS with information regarding your biometrics appointment to be done at a local USCIS office. At this appointment, they will take your fingerprints, signature and a photo of you as well as a criminal background check. This information will be used to make your new permanent resident card.
- You and your spouse will need to have an interview with a USCIS officer (sometimes this can be bypassed). After the immigration officer reviews your case, you will then get an approval notice and you will be mailed your 10-year green card.
*Note that processing times are an estimate and vary by the USCIS caseload, the specific office you filed at and how complete your petition package is. If additional documents are requested by USCIS or you make mistakes in filing, additional delays will occur. To prevent your petition from being rejected or delays as a result of a Request for Evidence, it is strongly recommended to hire an immigration lawyer.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Conditional Green Cards
My conditional green card expired, can I still work?
If your conditional green card expired but your filed Form I-751 already then your resident status is automatically extended for 24 months while your case is processed by USCIS. On the receipt notice it will say “Your conditional permanent resident status is extended for 24 months from the expiration date on your Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card).” That means you are legally able to travel out of the United States and work in the U.S. for those 24 months.
Do I need to file an extension for this 24-month period?
No, as long as you have submitted Form I-751 prior to the expiration of your conditional green card, this extension is automatic.
What if I am asked for my papers?
If someone asks you can show them the receipt notice from USCIS (mailed within 6-8 weeks after filing Form I-751) and your expired green card as these serve as proof of your status.
What if my conditional green card expired and I didn’t file Form I-751?
In these cases, you should seek help from an immigration attorney sooner than later. Being proactive with your immigration status is the best way to ensure you can live, work and prosper in the United States. Give us a call to schedule a consultation.
Can someone with a conditional green card do everything a permanent green card holder can?
Yes, apart from the fact that after the two years, the conditional green card holder has to apply to remove conditions, they have the same rights.
Do people with 10-year green cards need to file Form I-751?
No, they do not. Only those with conditional 2-year green cards.
What does IR1 on my green card mean?
This stands for immediate relative.
Does my time as a conditional resident count towards my citizenship?
Yes, it does.
What is a CR6 green card?
CR is the class of admission so if you see CR6 that means you have a conditional green card.
Is an interview required?
If you and your spouse are filing jointly to remove the conditions then you likely will not need an interview unless important information is missing from your petition packet. The odds of having to go through an interview are higher if you are requesting to waive the joint filing requirement, which is the case if you are divorced.
How long does it take to get permanent green card from conditional?
Once you have filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, the processing time for your permanent green card can range from 12 to 18 months. Much of the processing time will be contingent on how completely you filed your paperwork, including all documents requested. For that reason, it’s highly advised to have an immigration professional thoroughly review your case and ensure all documents are properly submitted.
What is the difference between a conditional and permanent resident?
A conditional green card is valid for two years while permanent green card (granted to permanent residents) is valid for ten years.
Can I cancel my spouse’s conditional green card?
The complexity of canceling spouse’s green card depends on if their I-130 or I-485 petition has been approved yet. If they have not been approved yet then the process is pretty straightforward. The sponsor will need to request a reversal of the petition with a letter to USCIS and include any tracking numbers. In the event that the green card has already been approved (but not yet issued) then you must include a reason you are requesting the withdrawal. If the green card has already been approved and the individual has already received status as a U.S. citizen then you will need to prove that fraudulent activity has taken place.
How do I cancel my spouse’s green card?
If it hasn’t been approved yet, then you can reverse the I-130 with a signed and notarized letter.
Who gets a 2-year conditional green card?
Individuals who have been married for less than two years are issued conditional green cards.
Do EB-5 recipients get conditional green cards?
How We Can Help
So your conditional green card is set to expire and you need assistance in obtaining a permanent green card. Our experienced immigration attorneys can advise you on what to expect when going through this process. Get started today!
The CR1-11 visas are conditional marriage-based green cards, which the conditional permanent resident receives if the marriage is in good faith. This will involve filing jointly with your spouse.
How Can a Conditional Resident Deal With Wrongful Allegations of Bad Faith in a Divorce Petition?
Did your US-citizen spouse give “a bad faith” reason and swear to it? The good news is that the allegation doesn’t automatically become factual in the eyes of the law.
However, it will be impossible for the alleging spouse to offer support when you seek to become a permanent US citizen green card holder. Supporting your green card renewal process will contradict their claim.
If you haven’t finalized the divorce, it’s recommendable to stay clear of marital settlement. Let the matter proceed to trial, forcing the alleging spouse to supply evidence that proves their allegations of bad faith. If they fail to do so, you’ll escape the immigration issue. And that should be your goal.
a. Engagement & Wedding
It’s important to document pieces of evidence of your engagement and wedding. They include newspaper announcements, wedding invitations, and related expenses such as receipts of clergypersons, videographers, and the band. An original marriage certificate in the US is also crucial.
b. Children you bore together in marriage
While having children born into the marriage isn’t a requirement for validation of the union, they are excellent proof that you began life together. So providing their birth certificates shows you intended to stay together.
c. Joint property ownership
Do you jointly own or lease a property such as a home or real estate with your ex-spouse? Provide copies that have your name and your spouse’s name. They include a deed, purchase contract, lease agreement, property tax bills, mortgage account statements, closing papers, and mortgage agreement.
Even if you don’t own a property jointly, you can prove joint tenancy of a home. Documents such as repair records, utility bills, and homeowners association (HOA) bills can come to your rescue.
Several shots of the married couple can be other vital pieces of evidence. For example, you may include pictures taken during social events and family functions such as weddings, traveling, and funeral—Pro tip: Handwrite the dates, names, and places on the back.
e. Travel documents
Any travel record that shows that you vacationed together is useful, especially if you visit your spouse’s family home. So provide relevant records such as passports, tickets, reservations, and hotel bills.
f. Financial records
You must eventually provide the divorce document to USCIS when you file Form I-751 to become a permanent resident. Of course, you’ll include a request from the authorities to waive the joint filing requirement.
The court may dismiss the petition if you can prove the allegations don’t hold water. But if the judge finds the allegations true, the US government may deport you.
What Happens If You Don’t Remove the Conditions?
If you don’t remove the conditions, you will not be granted permanent resident status and, per citizen and immigration services, you’ll have to leave the country. You may also want to check our page about green card renewal.
CF1 green card
A CF1 green card is a conditional green card issued after entering the United States as a fiance or fiancee to a citizen of the United States. You will have to file Form I-751.
Reasons for Your Removal of Conditions To Be Denied
There are different reasons for your permanent resident card to not be issued and your removal of conditions to be denied. It could be that you did not file the form required in the right time frame. Another reason is lack of evidence and, if that occurs, you’ll be given instructions for refiling (see our page about USCIS request for evidence). That makes it critical that you seek to remove the conditions prior to when the conditional green card expires.
How to Remove Conditions on Residence
The process of removing conditions for a conditional green card holder varies depending on their residency status.
For immigrants that obtained their conditional permanent residency (CR-1visa) through marriage, the couple must apply together to remove conditions 90 days before the second anniversary of acquiring conditional residency in the U.S. You must fill out and submit Form I-751 and upon approval, the conditions on your green card will be removed.
EB-5 investor visa holders must submit Form I-829, which, if approved, would result in the removal of conditions on their permanent residency. The investor must prove that they have fulfilled the requirements of their I-526 petition in their I-829 submission. Investors must submit the required evidence to support their claim that they have fulfilled the investment requirements.
CR6 green card
A CR6 green card is a conditional green card issued to the spouse of a citizen of the United States. This involves filing Form I-751. See our page about marrying a U.S. citizen.
How can I remove a conditional green card after divorce?
For a conditional permanent resident status, you need to petition for the lifting of conditions of residence by filing Form I-751. Often, the USCIS will require a joint filing of the petition, where both partners in the marriage sign and submit the form. But a conditional green card divorce means you have to attach a request for waiver of the joint filing requirement.
Can I keep my green card if I get divorced?
You can still be a green card holder even after parting ways with your spouse. If you successfully apply for a permanent resident green card or petition with USCIS, the divorce will not impact your residence status. It all boils down to your circumstances and how long you stayed married.
What happens if you get divorced with a green card?
If you’re a lawful permanent resident spouse, the divorce proceedings and outcome shouldn’t impact your status. But you may have to wait 5 years instead of 3 years to file for the naturalization process.
Can a green card be revoked?
What is Conditional Permanent Residence?
A conditional green card provides foreign citizens with a limited residency in the U.S., which is subject to certain conditions. If those conditions are fulfilled, then the foreign citizen will gain unconditional permanent residency in the U.S. Conditional permanent residency is issued by the USCIS only to certain types of immigrants.
Firstly, if you are in the process of obtaining a green card through marriage and you have been married to your spouse for less than two years, then you will be subject to a conditional permanent residency.
Secondly, if you are a qualified EB-5 investor, you will be issued a conditional green card. If the foreign investor satisfies his EB-5 requirements, then they are eligible to apply to remove conditions on their green card.
How Does Divorce Affect My Progress Toward US Citizenship?
- The period the non-citizen green card holders spend staying in the country: If both partners were living in the US together when they divorced, the non-citizen partner would be forced to jet out of the country to keep their immigration status.
- The ability of the non-citizen spouse to apply green card or other immigration benefits
It’s advisable to seek professional guidance from an immigration attorney who understands US citizenship and immigration services. They will quickly help you navigate the quagmire.
Learn How Divorce Impacts Your Green Card Status
When you marry a US citizen, you can obtain either a permanent green card that’s renewable after 10 years or a conditional green card. You’ll need to apply for a conditional green card if your marriage is less than 2 years old at the time of getting the document.
Two years after arriving in the US, you can become a permanent resident so long as you have proof that your marriage still exists. You must apply for a joint petition to remove the conditions by filing Form I-751, signing, and mailing it to USCIS (the body that manages citizenship and immigration services) within 90 days before the two years end (joint filing). You might be interested in marriage green card timeline and marriage-based green card documents for in-depth understanding.
Also, be sure you understand the green card marriage interview questions and green card rfe before proceeding with the application. You may also check out marrying a us citizen while on h1b visa.
- Divorce after marrying in good faith
- Extreme hardship if you go back to your country
- Abuse from US partner in good-faith marriage
How do I remove conditions on my conditional green card?
What form do I use?
You use the form I-751 to extend and remove conditions on your green card. You have to send not just the form I-751, but also supporting documents and applicable fees to USCIS. The I-751 form is also known as a “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.” The name makes sense, because you have a temporary green card and want to remove the conditions on it.
Note that you aren’t asking for a renewal of your conditional green card. You’re filing the form I-751 to get a permanent green card by removing the conditions on your two-year card.
How long does it take to process the Form I-751?
The timeline for a decision on the form I-751 can be anywhere from 6 months to 4 years. The length of time largely depends on the basis of your form I-751. The basis of filing breaks down into two main groups. The conditional green card removal processing time largely depends on which of these two you use when filing the I-751.
What are the I-751 requirements?
The I-751 requirements vary, depending on whether you are still in a relationship with your spouse.
If you are still with your spouse, the immigration laws require you to file the I-751 jointly. Both you and your spouse must sign the form. The joint filing method is appropriate when you are still married and living together.
If you are no longer with your spouse, you should file for an I-751 waiver. Put differently, you need to apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You can apply for this waiver by checking the boxes for one or more of the three waiver categories on the I-751.
What are the I-751 Waivers Categories?
Here are the three categories of I-751 waivers:
- Divorce Waiver. This applies where you are divorced from your spouse but the marriage was in good faith. Good faith means that you had a real relationship with your ex-spouse, but unfortunately, things did not work out and the marriage ended legally.
- Abuse Waiver. This applies when, during the marriage, your spouse abused you or was extremely cruel to you. Extreme cruelty includes emotional or verbal abuse, not just physical. In sum, you can get an abuse waiver of the I-751 joint filing requirement not just when your spouse hits you, but when he or she is extremely cruel to you. Note: To qualify for this waiver, you must still show that you entered the marriage in good faith.
- Extreme Hardship Waiver. This waiver does not require you to show that you entered a marriage in good faith. To qualify for this waiver you must show that if you are not given a permanent green card, you or your children will suffer extreme hardship. Extreme hardship is hardship that rises beyond the ordinary. Further, you must show that the extreme hardship you would suffer would arise from circumstances that occurred during the two-year in which you were a conditional resident. Note: To qualify for this waiver, you do NOT need to show that you entered your marriage in good faith.
What is the effect of divorce on my conditional green card?
What is the immediate effect of my divorce?
Divorcing your spouse does not have any immediate effect on your conditional green card. For example, if the government approves a conditional green card in January 2020 and you divorce in August 2020 then you will still be in valid status for the full 2 years — until January 2022.
Will I have issues later on?
While there’s no immediate effect, the divorce will legally affect how you try to remove conditions on your green card, and thus, how you fill out the Form I-751. If you’re divorced and have a conditional green card, then you can’t file jointly with your spouse. Instead, you must use one of the waiver options to remove the conditions of your green card. These options are outlined above.
You should also know that the government doesn’t like receiving I-751 waiver application from temporary green card holders. In these cases, the government will look more closely at your application to remove conditions. So, for example, if you get divorced very soon after you obtained your card, the government will take a hard look at your waiver application to be sure that you married in good faith.
Additionally, a form I-751 waiver could trigger an in-person interview. But this is not the only reason why they may schedule an interview. Learn more below about conditional green card interviews.
What is a Conditional Green Card?
A Conditional Green Card is a document that provides foreign nationals who are married to United States citizens a two-year residency. A conditional green card is only valid for two years and cannot be renewed. This type of green card is typically issued to an individual married for less than two years prior to having a green card issued. The conditional green card holder has the same rights as a green card holder in that they can live and work in the United States for the two-year limit. To remain in the United States, at some point during this time frame, the status of the conditional green card must be updated to a 10-year green card. If the update isn’t made during the 90-day window prior to the conditional green card expiration date, the permanent resident status will be withdrawn and the cardholder will be legally required to leave the country.
Divorce and Permanent Green Card
If you are a legal permanent resident with a green card, your marital status doesn’t impact your immigration status. That means you can still apply for renewal of your green card even if you are divorced- you will not have to contend with questions about your marital status when filing Form I-90 (Application for replacement of green card).
You can even change your name back to your maiden name if the divorce is legal. Just ensure you have included a copy of the final divorce decree (or any other document that proves the name change) during the green card renewal process.
If you seek to divorce your US spouse, perhaps you are wondering whether your conditional green card will cease being valid. The good news is that the divorce will not automatically terminate the document. And you can file Form I-751 to lift the conditions at any time, even if the conditional green card’s expiration date isn’t near.
But for the application to sail through, you should include a “waiver” request proving that your marriage before the divorce was in good faith and not a way of circumventing the immigration requirements. Here are examples of proofs of marriage documents:
- Living together
- Joint financial expenses
- Children’s birth certificate
- Marriage counselling
You should also provide a written explanation as to why the marriage ended. The reasons might range from irreconcilable differences (such as getting children) to adultery, domestic abuse, and extreme hardship. Include copies of divorce documents and court records proving your claims.
An experienced immigration lawyer can help you prepare formal documents detailing reasons for divorce. If USCIS decides that the marriage ended because of fault on your part, they will likely deny your 1-751 petition and the condition removal proceedings will not continue.
Will I get an I-751 interview to remove conditions on my green card?
After you file an I-751, the government may schedule you for an interview to remove conditions on your temporary green card.
Why you may get an interview
This can happen for two reasons. First, immigration service centers may have too many I-751 applications pending from other conditional green card holders. When that happens, the service center ask the local offices to help take over some cases, which trigger an interview. Second, you can get an interview when you didn’t submit enough evidence or the immigration officials have other concerns about your form I-751.
What happens at the interview
The I-751 interview experience varies and will depend on your particular situation. (It does have certain similarities to green card interviews in general, however.) If the immigration officer has serious doubts about your case then the I-751 interview questions could seem very harsh. In fact, the official could accuse you of fraud if an officer believes you lied to them about the marriage. If your conditional green card case is strong, however, then the interview should be a pleasant and easy experience.
It’s important to note that the government will not necessarily schedule an interview if you filed for an I-751 waiver. Officials often approve the I-751 waiver without an interview. For example, if your marriage ended in divorce but you have children together then immigration is unlikely to schedule you for an I-751 interview.
Removing Conditions When You are Separated but not Divorced
In rare cases, filing for the petition is possible if you two are legally separated but not legally divorced. The USCIS can grant you permanent resident status if you prove “extreme hardship.”
Conditional Green Card vs Permanent Green Card
What is a Conditional Green Card?
A conditional green card, abbreviated by CR1, is valid for two years and issued to foreign nationals who have been married for less than two years. Since the conditional green card is not one that can be renewed, you need to adjust your status in the 90-day period before it expires in order to avoid losing status and having to depart the United States. Part of the process to remove the conditions on your permanent residency is to demonstrate that your marriage is bonafide.
Typical Divorce Petitions Allege Bad Faith
Normally, there are two outcomes to a divorce petition filed in court:
- Marriage settlement agreement: The two parties agree on issues such as dividing assets, alimony, and child support
- Divorce decree: If the parties don’t agree, the matter proceeds to the court hearing, where the judge makes a final divorce decree
In proceedings involving an immigrant married to a US citizen, the latter can cite “bad faith” as grounds for parting ways – essentially swearing under oath that the union wasn’t genuine.
And due to anger, they often forget the good times they had with the non-citizen and fail to consider immigration consequences for the foreign spouse. US citizens might even believe their partner married them just to get a green card.
The issue mostly crops up when the parties agree to settle the divorce instead of bringing it to a court hearing. Once the court decides the agreement is valid and records it, undoing the US citizen’s claim becomes impossible – unless they are ready to be imprisoned for lying.
The problem may still arise even if the divorce proceeds to a court hearing before a judge. If the citizen can demonstrate allegations of bad faith, the judge’s exact language in the divorce decree will determine the immigration matter’s proceedings. The non-citizen forfeits all chances of becoming a US citizen if the decree cites bad faith as grounds for divorce.
The bottom line is that USCIS will need copies of the marital settlement or divorce decree when the non-citizen submits an I-751 application and when the green card expires. And they’ll take note of bad faith as reasons for ending your marriage.
Conditional Green Card and Marriage
Can I file Form I-751 without my spouse?
- The marriage was entered in good faith but the spouse is not deceased
- The marriage was entered in good faith but the union is now terminated due to annulment or divorce
- The marriage was entered in good faith but there is domestic violence or extreme cruelty by the petitioning spouse
- You are the child of a conditional resident parent who entered the marriage in good faith but you have been subject to violence or extreme cruelty by your parent’s spouse or by the conditional resident parent
- Losing your status and being removed from the U.S. would cause ‘extreme hardship’
If you are filing with the request to have the joining requirement waived (filing individually) you can do so between the time your are granted conditional resident status and before being removed from the U.S.
If extraordinary circumstances arise and you are unable to file (not due to your fault) you are permitted to file late but must include a detailed explanation of the reason you’re filing late to USCIS.
Green card wait times can be much longer if your application is completed incorrectly or if you choose an application pathway that does not apply to your situation. VisaNation takes the guesswork out of the equation and ensures that your application is tailored for the correct application pathway. Create your application today!
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When do I apply for an extension of my conditional green card?
You must file for an extension of your temporary green card before expiration. This means that you have to take action before the end of the two-year validity period.
What happens if your temporary green card expires
If you don’t send the right application in on time and your green card expires, then immigration can in theory try to deport you. (Don’t worry, though, they rarely do.) Immigration officials prefer that you still file the applicable form even with an expired card. If you do late-file, you have to attach an explanation for why. In other words, if you have an expired conditional green card, you should file the proper application as soon as possible and include the reasons why it’s late.
How to extend your temporary green card
You will use the same application to get both an extension and a permanent green card. (This is the form I-751 discussed in the next section). After you file the Form I-751, the government will send you a receipt notice that grants you an extension of your conditional green card. Thus, you can think of it as a conditional green card extension. If the government approves your application then you’ll receive a permanent green card in the mail.
What is Conditional Permanent Residency?
An individual that has married a citizen of the United States and has immigrated to the country before their second wedding anniversary is granted conditional permanent resident status with a conditional green card. The children of a conditional permanent resident may also be granted conditional permanent residency.
Investors with the EB-5 visa are granted conditional permanent residency. The EB-5 visa is granted to foreign investors that meet specific criteria. The visa and conditional permanent residency can be extended to the spouse and children of the investor.
Conditional Permanent Residency
Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions about conditional green cards.
Who gets a 2-year conditional green card?
You will receive a conditional green card if you have been married to your U.S. spouse for less than two years. The conditions on your permanent residency will last for two years and you will have to jointly apply with your spouse to remove the conditions. You must apply 90 days before the two-year anniversary of your receiving your conditional permanent residence. If your application is successful, you will then receive a 10-year green card that can be freely renewed.
How long does it take to get a permanent green card from a conditional green card?
If you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, it will take approximately 16 months to go from a conditional green card to unconditional permanent residency. The wait time depends on the processing speed of I-751, which is usually between 13 months and 19 months.
If you are an EB-5 visa investor, then it would be around 25 months for you to make the switch from a temporary green card to permanent residency. Your wait time will depend on the processing speed of I-829, which is generally 25 months to 40 months.
While your I-751 or I-829 is processing, you are allowed to legally reside in the U.S., which means that you will not be deported and removal proceedings will not be initiated against you. Your conditional permanent residency will continue until you receive the outcome of your I-751 or I-829, be it negative or positive.
Are conditional permanent residents eligible for U.S. citizenship?
Conditional permanent residents that remove conditions on their green card can become U.S. citizens. The application for citizenship, N-400, is a separate process that you must be eligible for. Depending on your immigration pathway, you can apply for naturalization after certain years of receiving your permanent residency, which is anywhere from 3 to 5 years. If you have lived in the U.S. under a conditional green card, your years residing in the country will count towards the time requirements needed to obtain U.S. citizenship.
Can I work on a conditional green card?
Conditional green card holders are eligible to work in the U.S. for any employer. You do not need to obtain work authorization for each employer that you want to work for. Essentially, you can exercise the same employment rights and seek the same employment opportunities as any U.S. citizen.
Can I travel on a conditional green card?
Conditional permanent residents can easily travel outside of the U.S. They do not need to apply for any approval to leave or enter the country again if you are planning on remaining outside of the U.S. for less than 12 months or 180 consecutive days.
However, you can still abandon your green card by staying outside the country for more than 12 months or 180 consecutive days. If you plan on traveling for more than 1 year, you will have to apply for a re-entry permit, which would allow you to avoid green card abandonment.
If you fail to apply for a re-entry permit, you will have to reinstate your green card. This will involve applying for a returning resident (SB-1) immigrant visa. If your SB-1 is rejected, you will have to either apply for a new green card or apply for a nonimmigrant visa, whichever suits your plans.
It is important to note that the USCIS may not count the years of your conditional residence for the naturalization application if you do not comply with the travel requirements.
Can I renew my conditional green card?
Conditional green cards cannot be renewed at any point during your residency in the U.S. If the conditions are not removed by submitting I-751 or I-829 within the appropriate timeframe, you will forfeit your permanent residence.
The conditional residence is given to certain individuals as part of the “testing” period. Thus, it is expected for these individuals to comply with the requirements to prove to the U.S. government that they are eligible for unconditional permanent residence. One of the ways that they can do so is to comply with immigration regulations and apply to remove conditions on time.
Can children of conditional green card holders come to the U.S.?
Conditional permanent residents are eligible to bring their children to the U.S. When you receive the green card, you can file Form I-130. In fact, you can file the form at any time after receiving your conditional permanent residence.
Can I lose my conditional green card if I get divorced?
It is possible to lose your conditional green card after divorce and even become ineligible to apply for unconditional permanent residency. It is crucial that you become familiar with the necessary regulations and comply with the requirements. The process and evidence will vary dramatically depending on at which point in your immigration journey divorce took place.
What rights do I have with a conditional green card?
Are my rights limited with a conditional green card?
Surprisingly, a conditional or temporary green card grants you the same rights as a permanent green card. The only difference is the validity period.
That means you can live and work in the U.S. with this temporary green card as long as you are within the two-year period after immigration’s approval. Note: Although you can live and work in the U.S. on a conditional green card it’s illegal to vote.
Another benefit of having a temporary green card is that your time in conditional residency counts towards citizenship. Typically, you have to wait five years to apply for citizenship, and sometimes three. Any time spent on a conditional card counts towards the three- or five-year period.
Can I travel with a conditional green card?
Yes, you can travel abroad with this type of green card. But the better question is whether you have the right to come back to the U.S. with one. The answer is also “yes” — a conditional card allows you to reenter the U.S. after a trip aboard.
But note that no green card allows you to live abroad, conditionally or otherwise. As someone with a conditional green card, you have to reside in the U.S. If you demonstrate an intent to live abroad, immigration officials can decide that you gave up your residence and thus strip you of your green card.
Types of Conditional Green Cards
There are two types of conditional green cards available to foreign nationals: the CR-1 and IR-1 visas for spouses, and the EB-5 visa for investors. The CR-1 and IR-1 visas are issued to foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. These visas are valid for two years and require the foreign national to file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.
On the other hand, the EB-5 visa is issued to foreign nationals who invest at least $800,000 in a U.S. business, which creates a minim of 10 W-2 jobs for U.S. workers. This visa is also valid for two years, and similarly, the foreign national must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.
Conditional green cards are a critical component for foreign nationals who wish to live and work permanently in the United States. They are intended to provide an opportunity for individuals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or who invest in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 visa program.
To remove the conditions on a conditional green card, the foreign national must file a Form I-751 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must be filed within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date. The foreign national must provide evidence that the marriage is still valid or that the investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 program.
The USCIS will review the petition and conduct an interview with the petitioner and their spouse or business partner. During the interview, the USCIS officer will verify that the petitioner is still eligible for a conditional green card and will ask questions about the petitioner’s relationship with their spouse or about their investment in the U.S. economy.
If the USCIS approves the petition, the foreign national will receive a permanent green card that is valid for 10 years. However, if the petition is denied, the foreign national may be placed in removal proceedings and could be deported from the United States. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney to challenge the decision and avoid deportation.
Transitioning from a Conditional Green Card to a Permanent One
The process of obtaining a conditional green card begins with filing a petition with the USCIS. The petitioner must provide documentation to prove that the marriage is bona fide or that the investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 program. The USCIS will review the petition and conduct an interview with the petitioner and their spouse or business partners.
After the interview, the USCIS will decide whether to grant the foreign national a conditional green card. If the petition is approved, the foreign national will receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years. The foreign national must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.
Once the conditions are removed, the foreign national will receive a permanent green card that is valid for 10 years. The foreign national may then apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of permanent residency.
Purpose of Conditional Residency in the U. Immigration Framework
When looking at the reason why only certain types of visa applicants are subject to conditional residency and others are not, there are several reasons for this.
In recent years there has been a global rise in fraudulent marriages and the U.S. has been particularly affected by it. For this reason, the U.S. treats marriages that are under 2 years as prime suspects for marriage fraud. On the other hand, under U.S. immigration law, if your marriage is over 2 years long you’re your foreign spouse will benefit from unconditional permanent residency. This difference is most prominent in the distinction between CR-1 visa and IR-1 visa.
In terms of investment conditional green card, EB-5 is the only U.S. visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs to “invest” their way to permanent residency. Considering the restrictive approach of U.S. immigration, it is understandable that the nation is very attentive to individuals that are willing to invest large sums of money in return for a green card. EB-5 is not a way to buy American citizenship, it is a pathway to attract appropriate foreign investment to specific locations around the country.
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How to Remove Conditions on Green Card?
If you don’t take action prior to the conditional green card expiring, you will lose your residency status. This means that conditional green card holders must begin the process of removal of conditions prior to the expiration of the conditional green card. Although the process of removing conditions is similar, there are differences for those conditional green card holders by marriage and by investment.
A specific form is required for each of the green card types. It must be completed and submitted with the required documents. If the application is for the removal of conditions to a green card, the applicant must also complete an interview. For marriage green cards specifically, the applicants are typically required to answer several green card interview questions honestly and exhaustively.
Conditional Green Card Removal Interview
In late April of 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a government agency, started a new policy in relation to its immigration laws when it comes to conditional green card removal interviews. The new policy implements a risk-based approach that is expected to increase efficiency and reduce processing times. USCIS has specific criteria to follow to determine if the conditional green card holder must undergo an interview. Essentially, this criteria involves that there must be sufficient evidence as to the legitimacy of the marriage. Immigration services, part of another government agency, is aware of this and are working with the USCIS to implement the policy.
Removing conditions for a Marriage Green Card
To remove conditions for a conditional marriage green card, the conditional resident must file Form I-751. The conditional resident will have to provide supporting documentation (see our page about proof of marriage documents), including an original certificate of marriage and a joint petition to remove the conditions. You’ll also have to pay the filing fee.
Removing conditions for an Investor
According to current immigration laws, to remove the conditions to become a permanent resident based on financial investment, the individual with conditional resident status will have to file Form I-829 for the removal of the conditions and become a permanent resident.
In conclusion, obtaining a conditional green card is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. Whether you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or an investor, the process of obtaining and removing conditions on a conditional green card can be challenging. However, with the right support and guidance from an experienced immigration attorney, you can successfully navigate the process and achieve your goal of permanent residency and citizenship in the United States.
If you are considering applying for a conditional green card, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements and to guide you through the process. An experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary documentation, prepare for the USCIS interview, and file the petition to remove the conditions on your green card. With the right strategy and guidance, you can successfully navigate the complex process of obtaining and removing conditions on a conditional green card, and start your journey toward permanent residency and citizenship in the United States.
Consequences of Not Remove Conditions on Conditional Green Card
Individuals that do not remove conditions on their green card within the required time period can be subject to removal or deportation proceedings. When your visa expires and you have not filed for removal of conditions you are essentially being unlawfully present in the U.S. Not only may the government begin to actively deport you, if you are removed from the country, you can be banned from entering the U.S. for several years. Any immigration offenses that you incur will automatically affect all of your future U.S. immigration applications. It is crucial to comply with the regulations and apply to remove conditions on your conditional permanent residency on time.
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Removing conditions when the divorce is not final
If you have filed for divorce but still live with your partner, you don’t have to wait until the divorce is final to file Form I-751 to petition to lift of the conditions. USCIS will extend your conditional residence status by a year if you prove that you and your partner have initiated the divorce process.