Marriage-Based Conditional Permanent Resident Status

When the U.S. Government grants permanent resident status, some people receive conditional resident status. Unlike other green card holders, conditional permanent residents must request that USCIS remove the conditions from their status.

Who Is a Conditional Permanent Resident?

The U.S. Government grants conditional residency to foreign nationals receiving permanent resident status through marriage. A foreign national spouse can obtain permanent residency by adjusting status in the U.S. or obtaining an immigrant visa through consular processing. Spouses, who entered the U.S. with K-1 visas, may also receive conditional resident status. The obligation to remove conditions applies to spouses, married for less than 2 years, at the time the Government granted permanent residency.  The conditional resident’s dependent children also receive conditional status and must request that USCIS remove the conditions.  

When Must I Request that USCIS Remove the Conditions?

Conditional resident status expires two years after obtaining permanent resident status. Ninety (90) days before the expiration date, USCIS should notify a conditional resident that she or he must file the application to remove conditions. Even if USCIS fails to send a reminder, a conditional resident must file the application before the second anniversary after obtaining status. A conditional resident can apply to remove conditions as early as 90-days before the 2-year anniversary. A person may find the date when conditional resident status expires on the permanent resident card.   

How Do I Remove the Conditions?

The conditional resident and the petitioner-spouse must file an I-751 Form. The petitioner-spouse is the spouse who filed the I-130 petition or the I-129F petition for a K-1 visa. Both spouses must sign the I-751 Form. The married couple should submit supporting documents with their I-751 Form.  USCIS may waive an interview or may require the family to appear for an interview. 

Can I File the Application While Traveling Internationally?

Yes, a regulation allows a married couple to file the form when traveling internationally. However, the conditional resident, spouse, and dependent children must return to the U.S. if USCIS requires an interview.

What Happens if I Am Divorced or My Spouse Refuses to Sign the Form or Dies?

When a couple divorces or a spouse dies, the conditional resident may apply for a waiver from the joint-filing requirement. The conditional resident may also file the waiver if the marriage becomes annulled or the petitioner-spouse refuses to join in filing the I-751 Form.

What Happens if USCIS Does Not Approve My I-751 Form Before My Green Card Expires?

When USCIS receives a properly filed I-751 Form, U.S. law extends the conditional resident’s status until USCIS issues a decision. Any person filing an application with USCIS should understand that the agency receives many different applications and will need time to review the I-751 application, the supporting documents, and issue a decision. 

Can I File the I-751 Form Late?

A married couple may file the I-751 Form after the 90-day timeframe expires. However, the couple must demonstrate that good cause led them to file the I-751 application after the deadline.

What Happens if I Fail to Apply for Conditions Removal?

If a person does not apply to remove the conditions, USCIS will automatically terminate lawful status as a permanent resident. If USCIS denies an I-751 application, the Department of Homeland Security will begin removal (deportation) proceedings against the conditional resident. The conditional resident may request that an immigration court review USCIS’s denial.