Conditional permanent residents are spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who obtained CR-1 spousal visa and are granted to be in the U.S. for two years.
After this period, USCIS issues conditional two-year permanent residence to prevent marriage fraud.
Therefore, conditional green card holders must provide firm evidence about their marriage.
How to Remove Conditions on Residence?
If you have conditions on your permanent resident card, you need to file Form I-751 to ask the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS to remove the conditions so you can use benefits of permanent residence.
To do so, you need to file the joint petition, the form I-751 in timely manner and provide enough and firm evidence of bona fide marriage, demonstrating that you didn’t use it for immigration purposes only.
Removing the conditions on the conditional green card when a marriage has dissolved is still possible if you can prove that your marriage was originally bona fide.
For these cases, it is best to consult an immigration lawyer due to the complexity since any mistake risks losing immigration benefits.
If you need additional answers while going through this article, contact our law firm via +1-800-808-4013 or +1-216-696-6170.
My Conditional Green Card Is About To Expire
If your conditional green card is close to expiring, it’s time to remove conditions on residence and become a lawful permanent resident.
To move to the regular permanent residency, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
All conditional permanent residents who received their status via marriage must use this form to convert it into a 10-year green card and file it with evidence proving you stayed married to your sponsoring spouse and that the marriage is genuine.
Properly filed form i-751 must be accompanied with relevant evidence.
Evidence Proving Marriage is Still Bona Fide
- Bank accounts you hold jointly
- Utility bills
- Children born into the marriage: provide birth certificates for any children born to the marriage.
- And etc.
How To Show Evidence of Lawful Status After Submitting I-751?
The major thing to do in this process is to show the immigration officer that your marriage is bona fide, that you entered the marriage in good faith, and that your aim wasn’t only to get access to the U.S.
For this reason, you need to provide relevant evidence to remove the conditions on the green card.
As we mentioned above, a conditional green card holder whose marriage has dissolved, can still remove conditions and waive joint filing requirement, but he or she needs to prove that the marriage was originally bona fide and provide death certificate of a spouse, or a divorce decree and evidence of extreme hardship and abusment.
Such cases for those with conditional resident status can be complex, so it is best to seek professional help from an immigration attorney.
Extending the Expired Green Card
In 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that effective September 4, 2021, the government agency will be extending the time that conditional permanent residents can use receipt notices as evidence of lawful status.
Previously, when they filed to remove conditions, immigrants received a letter that their status is automatically extended by 18 months.
Now, those with conditional permanent resident status who file Form I-751 properly will receive a receipt notice (24-month extension) by mail.
Proving the Extended Status
So, to prove your lawful status, you must present this receipt notice with 24-month extension along with your Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, an expired green card.
This shows evidence of conditional resident continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date.
At the same time, the removal of conditions application remains pending with USCIS.
If the letter expires and USCIS office still hasn’t process your petition, contact USCIS local field office nearest to you to get information on what to do and request a new letter.
You can find contact information of all USCIS field offices on USCIS website.
Conditional Permanent Residents Who Filed I-751 before September 4, 2021
For those conditional permanent residents who properly filed their Form I-751 before September 4, 2021, USCIS will issue new receipt notices.
These applicants whose cases remain pending also can use receipt notices to prove continued status for 24 months after the expiration date on the green cards.
Traveling With the 24-month Extension
Those with conditional status who have provided their 24-month extension past the expiration date (Notice of Action) that they received by mail, along with the expired GC can travel outside the U.S. or use the 24-month extension to review the driver’s license, for example.
To do so, they must present the extension notice along with their Permanent Resident Card.
But, if you plan to stay outside of the U.S. for a year or more, you must apply for and receive a reentry permit.
To get the reentry permit, prepare and file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the country.
What Happens If You Stay After The Green Card Extension Expires?
If you do not remove conditions on your green card on time and get the green card valid for 10 years, you may be in trouble.
Once green cards expire, green card holders don’t have conditional residence anymore. This means that in case of late filing the U.S. government agency may put you in deportation proceedings.
However, it’s not all lost if you file late; there are cases when USCIS field office didn’t process your form, or you were unable to submit form i 751 due to credible reasons.
Depending on the phase of the process, here is how to deal with it.
Case 1: Conditional Green Card Expired Before I Filed Form I-751 is processed
If your conditional green card has expired, you can still file form I-751. However, there are specific criteria to follow.
The first thing to focus on is to submit a letter explaining why you are filing late. Ensure you provide rational reasons and attach relevant documents supporting your statement.
USCIS would make exceptions if the delay were due to extraordinary circumstances, especially if those are beyond conditional permanent resident spouse control, and if the immigration officer deems that the length of the delay was reasonable.
Case 2: Conditional Green Card Extension Expires Before Form I-751 is processed
If your conditional green card extension expired before the removal of the condition is processed, USCIS officer can do one of the following:
- Stamp a one year extension in your valid and unexpired passport;
- Place a one year extension sticker in your expired green card;
This extension while you wait for USCIS offices to process your petition will serve you to renew your drivers license, travel internationally, get new job and pretty much prove that your current green card is still valid.
However, consider seeking the advice of an immigration lawyer who can ensure you are back into a lawful status.
Failing to file the I-751 petition 90 days before your conditional green card expires makes you removable (deportable) from the U.S. You need to handle the situation as soon as possible.
What Happens If You Don’t Remove the Conditions on Conditional Green Card
Failing to submit Form I-751 as required (with required documents) will automatically set “out of status” once your card expires.
Unfortunately, such action results in deportation proceedings, and staying in the U.S. poses a risk of being barred for three or ten years.
How An Immigration Attorney Can Help You?
Although removing conditions is a fairly straightforward, many conditional permanent residents don’t know what supporting documentation to use to move from conditional permanent resident cards to becoming lawful permanent residents.
Any mistake in the form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions that is not fully filled can affect the processing times and cause delays or even prevent conditional permanent residents from becoming a green card holder (permanent resident).
We, at Herman Legal Group law firm, have over 26 years of providing immigration services and helping foreign nationals get the desired visa or obtain permanent residence.
You can schedule a consultation with us via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, or Facetime, or you can decide to visit our law firm to discuss your case.
Contact us via +1-216-696-6170.
If you prefer to speak with Richard Herman, you can also book your consultation online.