The status of conditional permanent resident, because it is only valid for 10 years, is not as secure as the status of an unconditional permanent resident (the status that most green card holders receive). Nevertheless, once you obtain conditional permanent residence, your next step towards unconditional permanent residency, and potentially future US citizenship, would be to:
- Obtain a degree from a university or college, or complete at least four semesters of a bachelor’s degree (or higher) program in the US;
- Complete at least two years of US military service with an honorable discharge; OR
- Work for at least three years (certain restrictions apply).
Once you have met the above-described requirement under the education, military, or employment track, you must meet the following requirements in order to obtain unconditional permanent residency:
- You must live in the United States continuously (short vacations are allowed);
- You must demonstrate rudimentary English language reading, writing, and speaking abilities;
- You must demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of US history, political principles, and government;
- You must demonstrate good character;
- Your criminal record must be clean, or at the very least free from both felony convictions and multiple misdemeanor convictions; and
- You must pay the appropriate application fee.
If some time passes between the time you apply for conditional permanent residency and the time you apply for unconditional permanent residency, you may be required to cooperate with another background check. If you qualify for both conditional and unconditional permanent residency status at the same time, however, you can skip over the conditional permanent residence and apply directly for unconditional permanent residence.