In certain circumstances, a person is granted permanent residency on a “conditional” basis for two years instead of the 10 years normally given to (unconditional) legal permanent residents. Conditional residency is granted when the underlying marriage is less than two years old at the time the permanent residency card is approved. If residency is granted on a conditional basis, the permanent resident card expires in two years after approval. If Form I-751 Removing Condition on Residency, is not filed before the two-year (conditional) permanent resident card expires, removal proceedings could begin. Once the I-751 is approved, the condition is removed from the permanent residency and a 10-year card is issued.
The I-751 Removing Condition on Residency may be filed as a joint petition if both spouses remain married and other conditions are met. It can also be granted even if the marriage no longer exists. If a joint petition is not filed, a conditional permanent resident can file the petition without his or her spouse’s signature if the divorce is final and she or he can prove that the marriage was entered in “good faith.” The petition can also be filed if the conditional permanent resident can establish “extreme hardship” if the petition is not granted. Finally, the petition can be granted if the conditional permanent resident can establish that he or she has been a victim of domestic violence. I-751 petitions are more complicated than they appear at first glance. Particularly when the marriage has ended in divorce or when spouses are separated, conditional permanent residents are wise to obtain counsel to assist with the process.
Contact the immigration attorneys of Becker & Lee LLP to learn more.