If you received your Green Card based on a marriage that was less than two years old when you were granted legal permanent resident status in the U.S., your legal status is permanent. The card issued to you will be valid for just two years and not ten years.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants conditional status because you will have to prove that you did not marry your U.S. citizen spouse for immigration purposes. When your two-year Green Card is close to expiring, you will have to file an application to remove conditions on your status.
Application to Remove Conditions on Green Card
To remove the conditions on your Green Card, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence within the 90 days before the expiration date printed on your conditional green card.
You can apply to remove conditions on your Green Card if you meet the following requirements.
- You must still be married to the same U.S. citizen or the legal permanent resident who initially sponsored you for a Green Card in the U.S.
- You can include your children in your application to remove conditions if they received their conditional status when you received yours or within 90 days from the date on which you received your conditional status.
- You are a child and you were not included in your parents’ application for some valid reason.
- You are a widow or a widower.
- You are a divorcee, but your marriage was legitimate and did not happen for immigration purposes.
- You or your child were battered or subjected to hardship by your spouse, but you entered into the marriage in good faith.
Apply to Remove the Conditions on Your Green Card
Form I-751 to remove conditions on Green Card must be filed together by you and your spouse. You must not wait for your conditional status to expire to file this form. You will have to file this form 90 days before the expiration date of your status. If you do not apply to remove conditions on your card, you might lose your status in the U.S. and also be removed from the U.S.
This joint filing requirement will be waived only for those who are no longer married to their U.S. citizen spouse or were battered or abused by their spouse. However, you will have to apply to waive the joint filing requirement.
If the joint filing requirement is waived, you can file Form I-751 to remove conditions on your status at any time after you are granted conditional status but before you are removed from the country.
Remove Conditions on Green Card Form Fees
As of July 2018, the filing fee of $595 should also accompany an $85 biometric service fee for applicants filing an application to remove conditions on residence. This fee is subject to change so make sure to check the form instructions page for the current fee.
What if You File Your Form I-751 Late?
Make sure you file your Form I-751 before your status expires. Your conditional status will be terminated if you fail to file this form at the right time. Likewise, USCIS will also begin removal proceedings against you.
Once your status has expired, you will receive a notification from the USCIS saying that you have failed to remove conditions on your status. You will receive a notice to appear at a hearing.
If you prove that you were unable to file the I-751 application within the 90-day period due to a valid reason, your application will be accepted. You will have to submit a letter to the director of the Service Center with the reason why you were not able to file the petition on time. Once the director receives your request, he or she will decide whether or not to approve your petition.
Getting a Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement
If you are unable to file the application with your spouse, you may request the USCIS to waive this requirement. You can request a waiver to the joint filing requirement if
- You will suffer hardship if you are removed from the U.S.
- Your marriage was legitimate, but it ended in divorce.
- You were not able to file a joint petition because you or your child were subjected to extreme cruelty by your spouse and it was not your fault in failing to file the application jointly with your spouse.
If You Are Not Yet Divorced but are in Divorce Proceedings
If you are still married to your U.S. citizen spouse or your permanent resident spouse and your divorce proceedings are pending but you have filed a waiver of the joint filing requirement, USCIS will require you to submit a copy of the divorce decree.
If you filed the petition jointly but want your application to be treated as a waiver because you are still married to your spouse who sponsored you but legally separated or your divorce proceedings are pending, USCIS will require you to submit a copy of your divorce decree. Your petition will be amended once the USCIS receives your divorce decree.
Your permanent resident card will help you find a job in the U.S. Your conditional residency will be extended until USCIS decides on your case if you file Form I-751 on time.
Form I-751 Interview
People applying to remove conditions on their status might be required to appear for an interview. However, not all applicants will be required to appear for an interview. If an interview is required, you will be notified.
What if Your Application is Denied?
If your I-751 petition is denied, you will receive a letter with the reason for denial. USCIS will begin removal proceedings as soon as your application is denied.
During the removal proceedings, you will be allowed to request for an immigration judge to review the denial. You will be allowed to appeal the decision if the immigration judge decides to remove you from the U.S. You will have to appeal the decision within 30 days of the immigration judges decision. You will have to pay a fee to appeal the decision. Once your application is processed, the appeal will be forwarded to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C.