If you received permanent residence status for a marriage that was less than two years old than you have what is known as conditional residence. To remove the conditional residence status, you must file Form I-175, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. There are certain eligibility criteria. They include:
- People that are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after two years. You may also include your children if they have conditional residence as well.
- If your children cannot be included in your application, you may file theirs separately.
- Widows or widowers who entered into your marriage in good faith
- People who entered their marriage in good faith but the marriage has ended through annulment or divorce
- People who entered into a marriage in good faith who themselves or children were subjected to battery or extreme hardship by their spouse.
The Conditional Residence Process
To qualify for removal of your conditional residence, you must apply within 90 days of the expiration of your conditional residence. If you fail to do so your conditional resident status will be terminated, and removal proceedings will begin. The U.S. government will not remind you of the expiration of your status as a conditional resident. It is up to you to start the process at the right time. If you have a good enough reason, the government may allow you to file Form I-751 after the 90-day period.
Requirement to File a Joint Petition
If you and your spouse are still together, you must file a joint petition. However, if for some reason your marriage has ended, you may file for a waiver to file an individual petition. The government will require you to provide evidence that proves you were not attempting to evade immigration laws and you began your marriage in good faith. Additionally, if you in the middle of divorce or annulment proceedings, you must apply for a waiver to file individually.
To stay in the U.S., you must provide evidence that your marriage is legitimate and in good faith. For instance, sharing bank accounts and an address is evidence of a good faith marriage. Anything that you do that would occur in a normal marriage is evidence of good faith. The evidence is crucial for the removal of conditional residence.
You will also have to submit to an interview. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department will scrutinize every aspect of your life and application. It is important to understand the level of scrutiny you will face. Your attorney can help prepare you for this intense interview.
USCIS will also conduct a background check and biometrics. USCIS will require you to submit to fingerprinting.
Conditional Residence Denial and Approval
If USCIS approves your application, you will receive a ten-year green card. Once you have your green card, you may apply for permanent citizenship after you meet all the other requirements.
If USCIS denies your application, you may appeal the decision. The process to remove you from the country starts immediately after a denial of an application. You have 30 days to appeal the decision.