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Conditional Permanent Residency

Posted by attorney Thomas Goldman

Foreign nationals who were married less than two years at the time they were granted permanent residence status (i.e., a green card) obtain what is known as conditional permanent resident status. The same applies to their derivative children.

Conditional immigration status expires two years from the date it was granted. Accordingly, green cards issued in such cases will reflect an expiation date two years from the date it was issued.

USCIS grants conditional permanent resident status as an effort to prevent marriage fraud.

Congress enacted laws that effectively treat all marriage based applicants for permanent residency as suspect where the underlying green card marriage is less than two years at the time of approval and admission.

To remove this conditional status you will need to file a petition using Form I-751 to have the condition removed within 90 days prior to the two year anniversary of being granted conditional status. While USCIS will typically mail you a reminder, it is the your responsibly alone to timely file the petition. We suggest that you mark your calendar with a reminder approximately 20 months from the date your conditional green card status was issued.

Failure to timely and properly petitioning to remove the condition may lead to your removal (deportation) from the United States. USCIS may accept a late I-751 petition may but you will need to demonstrate good cause and extenuating circumstances for filing late. The acceptance of a late I-751 petition is discretionary and may be denied.

In addition to Form I-751 you will also need to submit sufficient supporting documents that demonstrates the validity of your ongoing marriage.

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