Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

Conditional residence is the immigration status of a foreign national who was approved for permanent residence (green card) within two years of getting married to a U.S. citizen, or after green card approval based on immigrant investment (EB-5). This article will focus on cases based on marriage. During the two year conditional period the immigrant has the same rights and responsibilities as other green card holders. This includes the right to live and work in the U.S. and file petitions for qualifying relatives. However, at the end of the two years the conditional resident must apply to have the conditions of the resident status removed.

Within 90 days of the expiration of the conditional green card, the conditional resident and U.S. citizen spouse are required to file a joint petition to remove the conditions (Form I-751, Application to Remove the Conditions on Residence). If the applicant fails to file before their temporary card expires, then USCIS will “terminate the permanent resident status.” If you are late in filing Form I-751 then seek immediate help from an experienced immigration attorney because there may still be relief available.

The easy cases involve a husband and wife who are still married and timely submit Form I-751 within the 90 day filing window. Both spouses are required to sign under penalty of perjury that “the marriage was entered in accordance with the laws of the place of filing, and was not for the purpose of procuring an immigration benefit.”

If you cannot jointly file Form I-751 because your marriage has ended then you may be able to apply for a waiver of the joint petition requirement. To qualify for the waiver, you must establish that one of the following circumstances exists: 
  •  Entered into marriage in good faith but the marriage was terminated in divorce
  •  Entered into marriage in good faith but the marriage was terminated due to the death of the U.S. citizen spouse
  •  Entered into marriage in good faith and the immigrant was subjected to physical battering or extreme mental cruelty
  •  Immigrant spouse would suffer extreme hardship if returned to country of origin