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Foreign nationals who obtain status as a lawful permanent resident based on marriage are given only conditional status if the marriage that was less than 2 years old at the time permanent resident status is granted.  The purpose of this provision of law is to require the immigrant to prove that the marriage was bona fide and not for the purpose of evading immigration law.  Today's blog post will explain the eligibility criteria for removing the conditions to permanent resident status.

How do I apply to remove the conditions?

Removal of the conditions is requested by filing Form I-751 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  If the conditional permanent resident is still married to the same spouse, the filing is done jointly with the spouse, along with evidence that spouses are still married to each other, the marriage is bona fide, and the spouses are still living together.  If the spouses are divorced or the petitioning spouse is deceased, the conditional permanent resident may petition separately, but must show that the marriage was entered into in good faith.  If the spouses are not together and the application is not filed jointly, but the spouses are not yet divorced yet, the conditional permanent resident may petition separately, but must show that he or she was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the petitioning spouse.   In addition to proving the above, the conditional permanent resident petitioning separately must also show that termination of permanent resident status and removal from the United States would result in "extreme hardship".

When can I apply to remove the conditions?

Conditional permanent residents who are still married to the same spouse through whom they received their status may apply to remove the conditions during the 90 day period before the conditional status expires.    If the filing is done separately (based on divorce, death or extreme cruelty/battery) the filing may be done at any time prior to removal from the United States.

What happens if I don't apply to remove the conditions?

If the conditional permanent resident does not apply to remove the conditions, the permanent resident status expires on the second anniversary of the grant of conditional status.  Once the status expires, the individual is no longer eligible to live or work in the United States, and may be removed from the United States. 

Removing the conditions is an important step to ensuring your continued ability to remain legally in the United States.   Therefore, understanding the eligibility requirements and complying with filing deadlines is critical.  Christiansen Law Firm assists conditional permanent residents with applications for removal of conditions, whether joint applications with the petitioning spouse or individual applications based on death, divorce or cruelty.  The immigration lawyers of Christiansen Law Firm will review the facts of your case and provide expert guidance and advice.  For more information about how Christiansen Law Firm can assist you, contact the immigration lawyers of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.

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