Conditional Residency & the I-751

Conditional Residency & the I-751

To Whom Does Conditional Residency Apply?

Conditional Residency ONLY applies to situations where an individual obtains their green card through marriage, and the marriage is less than two years when the residency is granted. Spouses and children can receive conditional residency status. K-1 visa holders will typically be granted conditional residency.

What is Conditional Residency?

Conditional Residency was established as a counter-measure to immigration fraud. The presumption is that couples who have been married for less than two years are more likely to have engaged in marriage fraud.

Conditional Residents have all of the same rights and responsibilities as permanent residents; however, their green card will only be valid for two years (as opposed to the typical 10-year green card). After two years, the couple will have to file to remove the conditional resident’s conditions.

How Do I Apply to Remove My Conditions?

To remove conditions the conditional resident and their spouse must jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. With a few exceptions, the I-751 should be filed jointly. It should be filed in the 90 days before the expiration of your conditional residency. When you submit the I-751, you’ll receive a receipt notice along with a letter extending your residency for one year. You can also make an appointment with USCIS and request that they place an I-551 stamp (green card stamp) in your passport.

Typically there is no interview associated with the I-751; however, USCIS can interview you and your spouse if they believe that marriage fraud has occurred.

If you do not file form I-751 before your conditional residency expires you should consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your options.

What Kind of Evidence do I File with the I-751?

The I-751 is very similar to the I-130 that your spouse filed for you. In support of the I-751, you’ll submit evidence to show that your relationship is ongoing, that you still live together, and that your marriage is legitimate. Evidence may include affidavits from the conditional resident and spouse, letters from friends and family, proof of cohabitation, proof of co-mingling of funds and assets, jointly filed taxes, proof of children, proof of joint vacation, and photos.

What If I Cannot File the I-751 Jointly with My Spouse?

The requirement for joint filing may be waived in the following five situations:

  • If your spouse is deceased.
  • If the marriage was entered into in good faith, but the marriage ended in divorce or annulment.
  • The marriage was entered into in good faith, but your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse was abusive towards you.
  • Your parent entered the marriage in good faith, but your US citizen or lawful permanent resident step-parent was abusive to you; or if your conditional resident parent was abusive towards you.
  • Lastly, if the termination of your residency and your removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship to you.

Please note that the first and last options are the only ones that do not require that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

If you would like information about removing your conditions, applying for a waiver of the joint filing requirement, or removing your conditions after your green card has expired, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in I-751s and family-based immigration cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!

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