When a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen, the US citizen spouse can sponsor the foreign national spouse, enabling him or her to become a permanent resident. If the marriage, however, is less than 2 years old on the day of the grant of permanent residence, the foreign national will be granted “conditional residency” or a “Conditional” green card. A foreign national is given conditional resident status on the day he or she lawfully enters the United States on an immigrant visa or has adjusted status to permanent residence. Conditional Residency is given for a period of two years.
Requirements To Apply For Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence
The 2-year conditional residence period was established to combat marriage fraud as there was a perception that many foreign nationals were using marriage solely to gain permanent residence in the US. At the end of the 2-year conditional period, foreign nationals have to verify to USCIS that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for immigration benefits alone or to otherwise evade U.S. immigration laws. Once the petition to “remove the condition” is approved, the foreign national spouse will be granted a 10-year permanent resident card.
A. Who May Apply?
A foreign national spouse may apply to remove conditions on permanent residence if he or she:
- Is still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 1 year and 9 months;
- Is a child and cannot be included in the application of his or her parents for a valid reason;
- Is a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith;
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment;
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either the foreign national spouse or spouse’s child was battered or subjected to extreme hardship by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse; OR
- Proves that the termination of his or her permanent resident status and removal from the U.S. would cause extreme hardship to him or her;
B. Who Cannot Apply?
A foreign national spouse is not eligible for removal of conditions on permanent residence if he or she:
- Entered into the marriage solely for immigration benefits; OR
- Entered into a marriage in good faith but is only separated from his or her spouse or is in the process of getting divorced.
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