Removing the Conditions on Green Card

Your permanent resident status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the date you became a legal permanent resident (also known as a Green Card holder) of the United States. 

You will be granted conditional resident status the day you are legally admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or successfully adjust your status to legal permanent resident status.

Your status is conditional until you prove that you were not married to circumvent U.S. immigration laws. To remove these conditions, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Cancel Conditions of Residence.

You cannot submit a Form I-90 to renew your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) if you are a conditional permanent resident.

When a non-citizen marries a U.S. citizen and soon thereafter files for an adjustment of status, they are likely to be awarded a conditional Green Card. A conditional Green Card is valid for two years only, and the acronym CR on the physical card stands for “conditional resident.” 

A conditional Green Card holder must apply for the two-year “waiver of conditions” to obtain a lawful permanent resident card and permanent resident status. Removal of conditions is the legal process in which a non-citizen spouse is granted full permanent resident status by USCIS.

how to REMOVe THE CONDITIONS ON a GREEN CARD

First, you and your spouse must request the removal of your conditions with Form I-751 within 90 days of the expiration of your conditional green card. The omission of this step could result in the termination of your legal residency. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requests that the following be established:

  • The marriage was legal,
  • The marriage has not been terminated,
  • The marriage was entered into for the purpose of obtaining legal residency,
  • No fees were paid, (other than the attorney’s fee for assisting in the process).

In the event that you and your spouse cannot apply together, you will need to petition for the exception of the joint filing requirement. This is done on the same I-751 form. In these cases, the USCIS will ask you to prove:

  • Extreme Hardship of being removed from the U.S. (the hardship should have occurred during the two-year period of your conditional residence),
  • You entered a qualifying, bona fide marriage, but it was terminated due to divorce or annulment,
  • You entered a qualifying, bona fide marriage, but during the marriage you suffered violence or were subjected to extreme cruelty by a spouse who is a US citizen, or lawful permanent resident of the United States,
  • Your spouse has passed away.
 

If you married a U.S. citizen and have received a CR1 conditional marriage visa, contact an experienced immigration attorney for legal advice on your petition.

How to Appeal

If the denial of your I-751 did not include a Notice to Appear, you are usually afforded the opportunity to quickly refile an I-751 with improved supporting documents to avoid having to go to Immigration court. It is important to quickly work with an immigration attorney to compile the documents and file as soon as possible. 

If the I-751 is denied, the USCIS might send a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge for removal and/or deportation proceedings. 

If this happens, you can ask the immigration judge to review the denial of conditions on your green card (your Form I-751) during the removal process. During this review, The Department of Homeland Security must prove the Form I-751 was denied correctly or that the facts and information you provided were not true.

If the immigration judge decides to issue you an order of removal, you have 30 days to appeal the decision. 

After you properly file Form EOIR-26, Notice of Appeal of a Decision of an Immigration Judge, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding the denial of your I-751, you will want to seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney to help you understand why the case was denied. You will likely need help putting everything together to best present your case and ensure you are granted your 10 year permanent residency.