Getting a Conditional Green Card
Form I-751 - Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence
One of the several ways in which a person can get a Green Card is through marriage. Both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may petition for Green Cards for their spouses by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Spouses of U.S. citizens are 'Immediate Relatives' and hence a visa number is made available to them as soon as the petition is approved. However, for spouses of lawful permanent residents there is a wait time before they can get a visa number. Once the visa numbers are available the beneficiaries file for and get their Green Cards.
Note: A spouse is granted conditional resident status only if he or she has been married to the sponsor for less than two years before being granted the status, or if he or she entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa.
Persons who get their Green Cards through marriage receive what is called a 'conditional resident card'. This means that they have been approved for the permanent resident status on a conditional basis. They are issued conditional Green Cards that are valid only for 2 years.
Removing the Conditions on Green Card
The conditional green (resident) card holder has to petition for the removal of the conditions 90 days before the second anniversary of the day on which he or she was granted this conditional status. Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence is the form that has to be filed to petition the USCIS. If the petition is not filed at the stipulated time, the conditional resident will lose his or her status and become removable from the United States.
Filing Form I-751
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence has to be filed within the 90 days preceding the second anniversary of the day on which the conditional resident status was granted. A petition, if filed earlier than the 90 days, will be returned and, if filed later than that, will make the applicant removable from the U.S. If the duration of the delay is not too long and was due to circumstances not in the control of the petitioner, then he or she will have to include a written statement with the application explaining the reason for the delay, and requesting USCIS to excuse the delay in filing.
Note: USCIS does not send a reminder about the due date for filing Form I-751. All information regarding the conditional status and the procedure to remove the conditions are provided initially when issuing the conditional Green Card.
- The applicant has to file Form I-751 along with the spouse through whom he or she got the conditional Green Card. This joint filing requirement may be waived under the following circumstances:
- The sponsoring spouse is not alive
- The marriage that was entered in good faith was terminated through divorce or annulment
- The petitioner has faced extreme cruelty from the spouse and/or has been battered
- The petitioner will face extreme hardship if he or she is made removable from the United States
- Dependent children, who received conditional resident status along with the petitioner and entered the United States at the same time or within 90 days from when the petitioner arrived, can be included in the same application. Dependent children who received conditional resident status 90 days after their parent or if their conditional resident parent is deceased need to file separate petitions to get the conditions removed.
- The I-751 application has to be filed along with the necessary supporting documents, especially those supporting the petitioner's marital status, and fees at the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
After Filing the Petition to Remove Conditions on Green Card
When the application has been received by the USCIS it will be checked to see if it is complete and includes all the necessary supporting documents and the required fees. Once verified, USCIS will accept it for processing. On acceptance the petitioner will be sent a receipt notice. This notice is very important as it is now the legal proof of the person's status in the U.S. It automatically extends the conditional resident status for one year while the application is being processed. Even if USCIS takes longer to process the case, the status is valid until the USCIS makes a decision on the case. The petitioner is expected to carry their expired Green Card and the receipt notice with them at all times and most importantly when entering or exiting the country.
The USCIS, after adjudicating the petition, will either send an approval by mail or may request the petitioner and spouse to appear for an interview. Persons called to an interview will be informed about the decision after the interview. If approved, a stamp will be placed on the petitioner's passport. If the approval is by mail, the petitioner will have to get an appointment at the local USCIS office and go there along with the approval letter and passport where the USCIS official will stamp the passport. The stamp in the passport proves the legal status of the petitioner. The actual Green Card will be mailed to the petitioner and may take some time. Preparing your Form I-751 online provides you with easy step-by-step guidance that will ensure that you have completed the application correctly.
Our Application Package includes all the forms you need to send to the USCIS for processing. It also includes personalized filing instructions that tell you exactly how to properly file your application with the USCIS. Application Package Fee: $195. USCIS Filing Fee: $595. Biometrics Fee: $85 per person on application. Additional $85 for each child listed in Part 4 of the I-751 application.