Removing Conditional Residence in Marriage Cases

You can remove your conditional residence status by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. You have to file to remove the conditions on your green card or you will lose your conditional residence status and will no longer be allowed to live in the U.S. It’s very important that you file this form during the 90-day period before your conditional permanent resident card (green card) expires.

What Is Conditional Permanent Residence?

You would become a conditional permanent resident if you married a U.S. citizen or a green card holder and you got a conditional green card less than two years after you married. (People who have been married for more than two years or longer apply for a green card that’s valid for five years.) The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives shorter, conditional status to people who have been married for less than two years to make sure they didn’t get married just to get a green card.

Why Form I-751?

To remove the conditions on your green card, you should file Form I-751 in the 90 days before your conditional green card expires. Please note that the USCIS won’t let you file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This is because you are not simply replacing a green card that is about to expire. Instead, you are applying to change your status to become a person who can permanently live in the U.S. The USCIS will give you a full green card if it approves your Form I-751 application—you would be able to replace that full green card with Form I-90 if you needed to.

How to File Form I-751

You and your husband or wife should file Form I-751 jointly (together) if you are still married. People who can’t joint-file with their husband or wife need to apply for a waiver from the USCIS. This waiver asks the USCIS to let you file Form I-751 on your own.

To get a waiver, you will need to show that you got married in good faith. This means that you married your partner because you wanted to spend your life together, not to cheat immigration laws. You will also need to show one of these things:

  • Your husband or wife died.
  • Your marriage ended in divorce or annulment.
  • Your husband or wife physically or mentally abused you.
  • You would suffer extreme hardship if you lost your green card and had to leave the U.S. For example, people who have lived most of their lives in the U.S., don’t speak the language of their home country, have no ties to their home country or have a medical issue that can’t be treated in their home country might be able to get a waiver from the USCIS. However, these waivers are extremely difficult to get. You would also have to prove that you got married in good faith.

People who are filing Form I-751 jointly with their husband or wife should file the form in the 90 days before the conditional green card expires. However, people who are asking the USCIS for a waiver from filing jointly with their husband or wife can file Form I-751 at any time after they get their conditional green card.

It is extremely important that you file Form I-751 on time. People who don’t apply to remove the conditions on their green card will lose their legal status and will no longer be allowed to live in the U.S.

The USCIS will mail you a notice when it has received your application. Your conditional green card will remain valid while the USCIS is processing your application.

The USCIS might have you go to an interview before it makes a decision on your application. The USCIS would let you know about the interview with a notice in the mail.

The USCIS will mail you a notice when it decides whether to you application was approved or denied.

People whose applications are approved will get a green card that lasts for 10 years. You can apply to renew this green card when it’s about to expire and get a new green card that lasts for another 10 years. You can also apply to become a U.S. citizen if you meet all of the requirements.

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