Conditional Permanent Residence

Residents who have conditional permanent residence get green cards valid for 2 years. To get rid of permanent resident status conditions, you should file a petition in time (90 days before conditional green card expiry). In case you don't know when you should file, here's what you should know.

Form I-751: Petition for Removing Permanent Residency Conditions

Form I-751 is needed to remove residence conditions. Conditional green cards can't be renewed if conditions aren't removed. What's more, you risk losing permanent residency status and being subjected to deportation.

A. Removing Permanent Residence Conditions Acquired Through Marriage

If you get permanent resident status based on marriage, such status is conditional for a young marriage that is less than 2 years from the date of acquiring permanent residence.

Your permanent residency status is conditional if based on a marriage that lasted less than two years from when a person gains permanent residency.

Conditional permanent residency is given to individuals admitted to America using an immigrant visa as well as those who adjust residency status to permanent resident. A person's status remains a condition until proven that the person didn't simply get married to bypass US immigration laws.

Eligibility

Generally, a person must apply for removal of permanent residency condition with their US citizen or spouse or jointly, with relative who is a lawful permanent resident. This applies if the person is still married to a lawful permanent resident of American citizen for 2 or more years.

This also applies if a person's parents are still married to a lawful permanent resident or American citizen for at least two years. Most importantly, the marriage requirement applies if marriage is to the same individual for at least 2 years.

If you are filing through your parent who is married to a US citizen or permanent resident, you can file Form I-751 without a permanent resident spouse or lawful permanent resident if the permanent resident or US citizen spouse/stepparent is deceased. The same also applies for applicants who married honestly (in good faith), but the marriage was terminated by annulment or divorce.

If you also enter into marriage in good faith but are subjected to cruelty or battery by your permanent resident/US citizen spouse or your parent is battered or subjected to cruelty by their US Citizen/permanent resident spouse, you qualify for removal of permanent residency condition.

Conditional permanent residence spouses can include their children in their petition if their status was acquired when acquiring yours or within ninety days of acquiring yours. For additional eligibility, refer to Form I-751.

Must you file jointly?

It is possible to file alone. A waiver for filing jointly can be acquired if you apply. However, some conditions must be met. For instance, you can request for a waiver for joint filing if;

Your deportation will result in unmatched hardship or if you/your parent got married in good faith, but your spouse/stepparent has passed on.

The same also applies if you marry in good faith, but the marriage ends (in divorce or annulment) because of the other party's fault (i.e., failure to file the petition in time).

If you marry in good faith, but you/your child face cruelty or are battered by your American citizen/lawful permanent resident spouse then, you can be excused for failing to file the joint petition.

Lastly, applicants with parents who get married in good faith but are battered/subjected to cruelty by their parent or American stepparent who is a lawful permanent resident can be excused from joint filling. For additional eligibility, refer to Form I-751.

B. Removing Permanent Residence Conditions Acquired Through Entrepreneurship

Individuals who get conditional permanent residency via investments in new commercial enterprises as foreign investors (through the EB-5 program) have their status valid for 2 years only. Such individuals must apply for removal of conditions on their permanent residency status 90 days before the 2-year period is over or when they were admitted to America as conditional permanent residents. Failing to do this results in loss of lawful status.

Eligibility

If you acquire conditional permanent residency as an investor, you are automatically liable. Spouses/former spouses and children who aren't included in your petition must file individual petitions separately.

Filing for Removal

Individuals keen on removing the permanent residency conditions gotten through entrepreneurship must read and complete Form I-829. The filing fee also needs to be paid (if applicable) and supporting evidence provided.

The form should be completed fully. Otherwise it will be rejected. Form I-829 has 4 main parts. Part one is the basis for the petition. Part two requires personal information about an applicant such as their name, D.O.B., alien registration number, date of gaining conditional permanent residency, and mailing address.

Part three requires information on the current/former conditional permanent resident partner/spouse, and the last section, part 4 is about the applicant's child. If you wish to get updates on your case, you should apply for an online USCIS account.

After filing, the USCIS sends a receipt notice confirming they have received your application. A biometric services notice will follow thereafter, if applicable, and a notice to attend the interview. Lastly, the USCIS will send a notice indicating their decision.

Failing to file Form I-829 automatically results in loss of conditional permanent residency after the deadline (2 years) passes. If you file late, you need to request to be excused for late filling. This should be accompanied by a valid explanation highlighting why you filed late.

Fees

The USCIS has a special calculator that helps applicants know how much they should pay in fees.

Supporting Documents for Filing

Investment supporting documents required when filing include; Business licenses, invoices, receipts, contracts, bank statements, tax returns, and income tax statements.

Evidence of job creation includes but isn't limited to payroll records, Form I-19 (for employees), and the relevant tax documents. The USCIS needs evidence that an investor has created or plans to create full-time jobs.

The above information covers the most important information to consider about conditional permanent residence. Given the complexity of immigration law, it is advisable to go through the process after seeking legal expertise.

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