What Are Conditional Green Cards for Spouses?


If you’re a foreign national who has married a U.S. citizen, it’s crucial to understand how a conditional green card works. Generally speaking, every immigrant who enters the U.S. on a K-1 fiancè visa and applies to adjust status will begin their journey to U.S. permanent residence as a conditional resident. If you’re an immigrant who recently arrived in the U.S. based on a marriage visa, it’s in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable Middlesex County, New Jersey, Family Immigration Lawyer who can help you navigate the application process for removing conditions on your U.S. residence. Please continue reading to learn why your immigration status is conditional before becoming a permanent U.S. resident. 

Why Are Some Marriage-Based Green Cards “Conditional?”

In any marriage-based application for a green card, USCIS examines the relationship very closely to determine whether the marriage is genuine. This is because many couples commit marriage fraud for a foreign national to obtain a green card. Due to this concern, to ensure the validity of a marriage, USCIS will classify the new immigrant as a “conditional” resident. Although foreign nationals are initially classified as conditional residents, they retain nearly the same rights as permanent residents. They can live, accept employment, and travel in and out of the U.S. like any other green card holder.

Nevertheless, their conditional residency will expire after two years, whereby USCIS will determine the validity of the marriage. To remain in the U.S., you will have to apply for permanent status before the expiration date of your conditional residence.

How Can I Apply to Remove Conditions on My U.S. Residence?

If you want to remove the conditions of your U.S. residence, you must file a petition with USCSIS on Form I-751, “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence,” to get a permanent green card. The application process often involves proving to USCIS that your marriage is ongoing and you are establishing a life together. Submitting this form within 90 days before your conditional residence ends is crucial. If it’s filed too early, USCIS will return the application. On the contrary, if it’s filed too late, USICS will deny your application if you can’t prove extenuating circumstances to explain the reason for missing the legal deadline.

Furthermore, this is a joint petition, meaning you and your spouse must complete the form. You must also submit documents demonstrating that your marriage is the real thing. This may include photos, joint leases, bank accounts, memberships, and birth certificates of any children born to the marriage. In addition, you will need to provide USCIS with a copy of your conditional green card and pay a filing fee  ($595) and biometrics free ($85) for a total of $680. They may waive the interview if you submit evidence deemed strong enough to convince the USCIS officer that the marriage is legitimate.

If you’re applying to remove conditions on your U.S. residence, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC, who can help you navigate the complex process and ensure you file your application within the correct time frame.

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