If you are residing in the United States as a conditional permanent resident, you might be wondering how to remove conditions from your Green Card.
We’ll share all you need to know in this guide, including who can apply for removal of conditions, the steps to follow, how long the process can take and factors that can lead to the denial of your petition.
We’ll also explain how our experienced immigration team at Spar & Bernstein can help you throughout the process, so you can remain in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
What Is A Conditional Green Card?
A conditional Green Card, informally called a temporary Green Card, is a document that allows you to live and work in the U.S. for a period of two years.
You can receive a conditional Green Card based on:
- Marriage to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
- Investment in commercial enterprises connected to USCIS-approved regional centers, to stimulate economic growth
It is not possible to renew a conditional Green Card — to update your status and remain in the U.S. after the expiration of the two-year period, you must apply for removal of conditions.
What Is Removal Of Conditions?
Removal of conditions is the process in which a conditional Green Card holder submits a petition to adjust their conditional permanent resident status to lawful permanent resident status.
The applicant then becomes eligible for a permanent Green Card, which is valid for 10 years.
Who Can Apply For Removal Of Conditions?
Those who can apply for removal of conditions include:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent resident sponsors
- Children who cannot be included in their parent’s petition
- Widowed partners who can prove they entered the marriage in good faith
- Divorcees who can prove they entered the marriage in good faith
- Spouses who entered the marriage in good faith but were abused by the sponsor spouse, or had children that were abused by the sponsor spouse
- Immigrant investors
If you are not married or an immigrant investor, your case falls under special circumstances and you will be required to submit additional documents along with your petition to remove conditions.
At Spar & Bernstein, we handle each individual case with care. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review your case and help you prepare and file your petition with all required supporting documents.
When Should You Apply For Removal Of Conditions?
You must file a petition within 90 days of your conditional Green Card’s expiration date.
Note that applying within this time frame is crucial.
If you apply earlier than the required 90 days, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will return your petition and you will need to re-submit it.
If you apply after the expiration of your conditional Green Card and you do not submit evidence explaining the reason for the delay, USCIS is likely to reject your application.
To determine the right filing date, use the USCIS filing calculator.
How To Remove Conditions From Your Green Card
To remove conditions from your Green Card:
1. If You Have A Marriage-Based Conditional Green Card
- File Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence by completing and signing the form with your spouse. In limited cases, the requirement for joint filing may be waived.
- Submit a copy of the front and back of your conditional Green Card.
- Submit a copy of the front and back of the Green Card of any conditional permanent resident child included in your petition.
- Include a check or money order for the required filing fee ($595) and biometric appointment fee ($85).
- Include additional proof that your marriage is bona fide or entered in good faith, such as information on children you have together, new photos or new financial documentation collected after the approval of your conditional Green Card.
- If requested by USCIS, attend an interview (if USCIS determines that you are in a legitimate marriage based on the submitted supporting documents, your interview may be waived).
- A copy of any additional documents proving special circumstances, if applicable. This can be a copy of your spouse’s death certificate, evidence that your spouse requested the divorce and that the divorce was not your fault, or evidence of domestic violence, for example.
- If you want to be notified by an email or a text message that your form was accepted at a lockbox facility, file Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.
2. If You Have An Investment-Based Conditional Green Card
- File Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
- Include poof that you invested the necessary funds or were in the process of doing so, and that you maintained the investment during your residence in the U.S.
- Include evidence that your enterprise established or is expected to establish a minimum of 10 jobs for qualifying employees.
- In the event of a struggling enterprise, provide proof that after your admission as a conditional permanent resident, your company kept the number of existing employees at the level preceding your investment.
- Include an explanation of filing late, if applicable, supported by evidence for extenuating circumstances.
Once you file Form I-829, your conditional permanent resident status will be extended by six months or until the processing of your petition is finalized — whichever happens first.
USCIS will provide you with a receipt for filing Form I-829, which you must carry along with your Green Card.
Whether you are filing a petition to remove conditions as a spouse or an immigrant investor, you can create an online account. It will allow you to check USCIS processing times, monitor your case status or place a case inquiry, if there is unusual delay.
Processing Times For Removing Green Card Conditions
The processing time for removing conditions from your Green Card depends on the application center where you filed your petition, as well as the strength of evidence supporting your application.
I-751 processing time can take anywhere between 12 and 18 months, from filing your petition to receiving your Green Card.
Partnering with an experienced immigration lawyer will ensure that your petition is completed correctly, submitted on time, and includes the supporting documents needed to remove the conditions from your Green Card.
Can Your Application For Removal Of Conditions Be Denied?
Yes — under certain circumstances, your petition to remove conditions from your Green Card can be denied.
A removal of conditions might be denied due to:
- Failure to provide evidence about establishing a joint life with your spouse
- USCIS believing that your marriage is fraudulent
- Late application submission, without an explanation for the delay
If your petition to remove conditions has been denied, our experienced immigration lawyers at Spar & Bernstein can help.
We’ll review your petition and determine the best path forward to re-submit your application and get your conditions removed.
What Happens If The Conditions Are Not Removed?
If the conditions from your Green Card are not removed, you will fall out of status once it expires and face the risk of deportation.
Additionally, if you remain in the country, you will begin accruing unlawful presence that can lead to a three- or ten-year ban from re-entering the U.S. in the future.
To learn more about the difference between out of status vs. unlawful presence, read our extensive article on the topic.
How Spar & Bernstein Can Help Remove Conditions From Your Green Card
Whether your conditional Green Card is based on marriage or investment, removing conditions can be challenging due to USCIS strict timelines and requirements.
Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers at The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein will help you navigate through the complex process towards your lawful permanent resident status.
Our team will:
- Review your case
- Help you compile any additional documents USCIS may need regarding your specific situation
- Complete and file your petition for removal of conditions within the legal deadlines
- Communicate with USCIS on your behalf
- Conduct a mock interview to prepare you for any questions USCIS officers may ask you
- Track the progress of your petition
Check out our immigration success stories — and become one of them!
How To Remove Conditions From Your Green Card: Wrapping Up
If you are a conditional permanent resident and want to legally remain in the U.S., you must file a petition to remove conditions from your Green Card.
Your petition must be filed 90 days before your conditional Green Card expires, along with required supporting documents, depending on whether your conditional status was granted through marriage or investment.
Our experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein will help you throughout the process, from start to finish.
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Bradford H. Bernstein
This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.View Brad's Bio