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What is a Conditional Permanent Resident?

Posted on January 22, 2024 in

Marrying a U.S. citizen allows an individual to be granted a two-year permanent residency in the United States. However, this permanent residency is based on conditions that must be met to remain in the U.S. after two years. Additional steps must be taken to retain specific rights.

While two years may seem like a long way off, failing to meet U.S. immigration requirements can result in legal complications and separation from your spouse. Below, we address removing the residency conditions and providing a smoother transition. Our team gladly serves individuals asking questions about immigration law in Houston.

Understanding Conditional Permanent Residence

Individuals with conditional permanent residence have many of the rights of a U.S. citizen. They are allowed to be employed by U.S. employers and can live anywhere. As documentation to prove they are legally in the U.S., a Green Card is issued, and the conditional status means that these privileges are limited to two years.

As mentioned, marriage to a U.S. resident is the most common way to become a conditional permanent resident. However, this status is granted to entrepreneurs from other countries seeking to open businesses in the United States. Because of the expense associated with business ownership, marriage is a more common route to becoming a conditional permanent resident.

Petition for the Removal of Conditions

To remove the conditional status, individuals must meet the eligibility requirements of being married to their spouse throughout their conditional permanent residency, and the marriage has to be established for two years. The federal government created the two-year marriage waiting period to establish a marriage’s legitimacy. A Form I-751 will then be submitted, and the following supporting documentation should be available:

  • Current Green Card
  • Marriage certificate
  • Joint documentation with your spouse representing a married relationship, such as a bank account

It is also vital to be upfront about any criminal record that exists. Proof should also be available that there are no pending charges. The Form I-751 will be filled out jointly with a spouse.

Submit the Documentation Early

Ninety days before the expiration of a conditional residency, an individual should petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remove these conditions. Failing to file too late can lead to denying the removal of the conditional status. The average processing time is about three months, so mailing or submitting the documents online 90 days before a Green Card expires is critical.

Fees apply and must be paid. Dependents may also acquire conditional resident status simultaneously as a parent. This calculator includes fees for any dependents who gained conditional resident status.

Reasons an Application May be Rejected

Applying for unconditional permanent residence can be legally overwhelming, with proper documentation and meeting the deadlines critical to a successful outcome. Help is available through this process. A rejected application can occur for the following reasons:

  • A late application submission
  • Missing documentation or incomplete forms
  • Not filing jointly with a spouse or with a waiver if the marriage has ended or a spouse is deceased
  • Having a criminal background

Taking the steps as a conditional permanent resident to become an unconditional permanent resident is one of the most crucial processes for individuals who want to reside in the United States. Our Houston criminal defense lawyers are committed to helping clients successfully tackle the challenges of citizenship. Request a free consultation today.