Petition to Remove Conditions
If you filed to became permanent resident (green card holder) based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen your status is “conditional” and will expire after two years. This means that if you do not file a petition to remove conditions on your residence your status will automatically terminate. To avoid this outcome, you will need an attorney to prepare a Petition to Remove Conditions on your behalf.
There are eligibility requirements to remove the conditions on permanent residence. In order for your petition to be successful after you have been a conditional permanent resident for two years you must ordinarily still be married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident who sponsored your original petition. You will need to be able to show that you are still in a “bona fide” marriage and that you entered into the marriage in good faith. Quite a few people worry about this requirement because marriages don’t always work out the way you want them to. Death, divorce happen and have further reaching consequences for conditional residents. But you can still petition to remove the condition if you are a widow or widower, entered into the marriage in good faith but got an annulment or divorce, or you or your child were the victim of abuse or extreme hardship.
Normally, a petition to remove conditions has to be “joint.” This means that your spouse has to sign off on the petition and participate in the filing. But if you have divorced or were the victim of domestic abuse or cruelty and you entered into your marriage in good faith, you may file an application to waive the requirement that your spouse join you in your petition to remove conditions on residence. You will need an experienced immigration attorney to help you apply for this waiver as it can be a complicated and tedious process.
Once it has been determined that you are eligible to file for removal of conditions on your residence, you must file your petition at least 90 days before your green card is set to expire. Failing to file your petition in time can have severe consequences so give yourself plenty of time to start the process. If you file your petition late USCIS can automatically terminate your conditional green card status. This could lead to you being placed in removal proceedings in immigration court. But USCIS may still accept a late filing if there was a good reason you filed late, there were special circumstances such as an emergency that kept you from filing on time, and the immigration court has not yet taken over your case. After filing, you may or may not be required to attend an interview to determine if you are eligible for a removal of conditions on residence.
After your Petition to Remove Conditions has been approved, you will be issued a permanent green card that will need to be renewed every ten years. If your two-year green card is set to expire or you have questions on how to obtain or maintain a green card, contact our Nashville Immigration Attorney at (615) 475-7041 so that we can help you get started.