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What Is a Conditional Green Card?

 Posted on February 16, 2024 in Immigration

Blog ImageWhen a person from another country immigrates to the United States, their goal will usually be to receive a Green Card, which will give them lawful permanent resident status. This will ensure that they can continue living in the country and earning an income, while also allowing them to travel freely and potentially even sponsor other family members for immigration. In some cases, a person may receive a conditional Green Card that will only be valid for a limited amount of time

Conditional Green Cards are typically issued to foreign nationals who have been married to U.S. citizens for less than two years at the time they are granted lawful permanent resident status. Before a conditional Green Card expires, an immigrant and their spouse will need to take steps to receive a permanent Green Card. For those who need to address issues related to conditional or permanent Green Cards, an experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable guidance and legal assistance.

Why Are There Conditional Green Cards?

The purpose of issuing conditional Green Cards is to help prevent immigration fraud. The U.S. government wants to ensure that people do not get married solely for immigration purposes and as a means to obtain lawful permanent resident status. By granting conditional Green Cards, the government can assess whether the marriage is legitimate and bona fide before granting full permanent residency. This requirement helps protect married spouses while maintaining the integrity of the immigration system.

How Long Does a Conditional Green Card Last?

A conditional Green Card may be issued if a person who has been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years enters the United States on an Immediate Relative visa. A conditional Green Card will also be issued for an immigrant who receives a fiancé visa and gets married to a U.S. citizen after coming to the United States. In these cases, a person will have conditional permanent resident status for two years after the date their Green Card was issued. Their Green Card will serve as proof of their legal status, and it will allow them to live and work in the United States during that time period.

Before a conditional Green Card expires, an immigrant will need to take steps to remove the conditions on permanent residence. They can do so in one of the following ways:

  • Filing jointly: In most cases, spouses will file a joint petition to remove the conditions on permanent residence within 90 days prior to the expiration of a conditional Green Card. They will need to provide evidence that their marriage is bona fide and that the immigrant spouse did not get married solely to gain citizenship

  • Requesting a waiver: If a couple has gotten a divorce, if the U.S. citizen spouse has died, or if there are other reasons why filing a joint petition will not be possible, the immigrant spouse may be able to receive a waiver that will allow them to file a petition on their own. When doing so, they will need to provide evidence that they got married in good faith.

What Happens When a Conditional Green Card Expires?

If a conditional Green Card holder fails to file a petition to remove the conditions on permanent residence within the 90-day window prior to their Green Card's expiration date, they will lose their lawful permanent resident status. This failure can result in deportation proceedings, and the immigrant may be required to leave the United States. This may make it more difficult to apply for a visa or Green Card in the future, and it may limit the opportunities available to a person and their family members.

Contact Our Raleigh Green Card Lawyers

The process of removing the conditions on a Green Card can be complex, and submitting applications, waivers, and evidence requires careful attention to detail. At Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC, our Wake County Green Card attorneys can help you navigate through this process, and we can address any concerns you may have about maintaining your legal status in the United States. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about our immigration services, contact us at 1-844-YO-PELEO.

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