Most people receive permanent green cards, BUT if you have been married for less than two years and apply for a green card, you will be given a 2-year conditional green card. The government gives a conditional green card to ensure that you didn’t get married just for legal status in the US.
There aren’t necessarily conditions that you have to abide by, you still obtain the benefits of a green card, such as traveling in and out of the US and being able to work. Your green card expires after two years, but can be renewed for a permanent green card, after you remove the conditions.
In order to remove the conditions, 90 days before the expiration of your green card, you AND your spouse will need to file the I-751 to remove the “conditions” together. USCIS may also require an additional interview.
If you are late in filing to remove the conditions, one of the following could happen:
- Your green card will be terminated and removal proceedings will begin against you.
- You will receive a notice that you have failed to remove the conditions.
- You will receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you can bring evidence and rebut the allegations against you.
If you are no longer with your spouse, you will need a waiver to remove the conditions on the green card. In order to receive a waiver you have to show one of the following:
- Your deportation would result in extreme hardship
- You entered into a bona fide marriage but the marriage ended in divorce or annulment and you were not at fault in failing to file timely.
- You entered into a bona fide marriage, but there has been extreme cruelty committed by your US citizen or green card spouse and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition.
If for whatever reason you are unable to file the I-751 with your spouse OR you are late in filing the I-751, it is important to contact an attorney, to help ensure that you do not lose your green card!