What is conditional resident status?
Conditional resident status, often referred to as “conditional permanent residency,” is a temporary immigration status granted to certain individuals who are eligible for U.S. permanent residency (a green card) through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or through certain business or investment-related immigration programs. This conditional status is typically granted for a period of two years.
Conditional resident status was designed to address concerns about fraudulent marriages or business investments that were solely aimed at obtaining immigration benefits. It allows the U.S. government to further examine the legitimacy of the marriage or investment during the conditional period before granting full permanent residency.
Here are the two main scenarios where conditional resident status is applied:
- Marriage-Based Conditional Residency: When a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, they may initially be granted conditional resident status. This status requires that they remain married and file a joint petition to remove the conditions within the 90-day period immediately preceding the expiration of the two-year conditional period. This joint petition is a way for the government to verify that the marriage is genuine and not solely for immigration purposes.
- Investment-Based Conditional Residency: Certain immigrant investor programs, such as the EB-5 program, may also grant conditional resident status. Individuals who invest a certain amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers can initially receive a two-year conditional green card. Similar to marriage-based cases, they must then file a petition to remove conditions and prove the ongoing viability of the investment.
To transition from conditional resident status to full permanent residency, individuals must file Form I-751 (for marriage-based cases) or Form I-829 (for investment-based cases) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request the removal of conditions. This process involves providing evidence that the marriage or investment is legitimate and meets the required criteria.
It’s important to note that immigration laws and regulations can change, so it’s advisable to consult official USCIS resources or seek legal advice from an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information related to conditional resident status.
How to remove conditions on residence?
To remove the conditions on residence for conditional permanent residency in the United States, individuals need to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process differs slightly depending on whether the conditional residency was obtained through marriage or through an investment-based immigrant program (such as the EB-5 program). Here’s a general outline of the steps for both scenarios:
- Marriage-Based Conditional Residency (Form I-751):
If you obtained conditional residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you’ll need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You must file this form jointly with your spouse within the 90-day period immediately preceding the expiration of your two-year conditional period. If you are no longer married to your spouse due to divorce or the death of your spouse, you can apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement.
- Prepare Documentation: Gather evidence that proves your marriage is genuine and ongoing. This can include joint financial documents, joint lease or mortgage agreements, photographs together, affidavits from family and friends, and any other relevant documentation.
- Complete Form I-751: Fill out Form I-751 with accurate and up-to-date information. Be thorough and honest in your responses.
- Filing Fee: Pay the required filing fee associated with Form I-751. Check the USCIS website for the most current fee information.
- Submit Documents: Compile your completed Form I-751, supporting documents, and payment, and mail them to the appropriate USCIS address as indicated on the form instructions.
- Biometrics Appointment: After submitting your petition, you may receive a notice for biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment. Attend the appointment as scheduled.
- Notification of Decision: USCIS will review your petition and supporting documents. If your petition is approved, you will receive a new permanent resident card (green card) without conditions. If USCIS requires more information, they may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or schedule an interview.
- Investment-Based Conditional Residency (Form I-829):
If you obtained conditional residency through an investment-based immigrant program, like the EB-5 program, you’ll need to file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. This form is used to demonstrate that you have fulfilled the investment requirements and created the necessary jobs.
- Prepare Documentation: Gather evidence that demonstrates that you have fulfilled the investment requirements and that your investment has created the required number of jobs. This can include financial records, business documentation, job creation documentation, and more.
- Complete Form I-829: Fill out Form I-829 accurately and comprehensively.
- Filing Fee: Pay the required filing fee associated with Form I-829.
- Submit Documents: Compile your completed Form I-829, supporting documents, and payment, and mail them to the appropriate USCIS address as indicated on the form instructions.
- Biometrics Appointment: Similar to the marriage-based process, you might need to attend a biometrics appointment.
- Notification of Decision: USCIS will review your petition and evidence. If approved, you will receive a new permanent resident card without conditions.
It’s important to consult the official USCIS website and instructions for the most current and accurate information on filing forms, fees, required documentation, and any updates to the process. Additionally, it’s recommended to seek legal advice or assistance from an immigration attorney to ensure that you follow the correct procedures and provide the necessary documentation for your specific case.
Form I-751 checklist of required documents
When filing Form I-751 to remove conditions on your residence as a conditional permanent resident based on marriage, it’s essential to include a comprehensive set of supporting documents to demonstrate the legitimacy of your marriage and ongoing relationship. Here’s a checklist of commonly required documents to include with your Form I-751 submission:
- Petition-Specific Documents:
- Completed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, signed and dated.
- Filing fee payment (check USCIS website for current fee).
- Identity and Eligibility Documents:
- Copy of your conditional green card (front and back).
- Copies of government-issued identification (passport, driver’s license, etc.).
- Copies of any previous immigration-related notices or correspondence.
- Proof of Ongoing Relationship: Include a combination of the following documents to demonstrate that your marriage is genuine and continues to exist:
- Copies of joint financial documents (bank accounts, credit cards, loans, insurance policies, etc.).
- Copies of joint utility bills, lease or mortgage agreements.
- Copies of joint tax returns (if applicable).
- Photographs together throughout the course of your marriage.
- Affidavits from family and friends who are aware of your marriage and can attest to its authenticity.
- Any other documentation that shows your joint life together.
- Waiver Request (If Applicable): If you are applying for a waiver of the joint filing requirement due to divorce or the death of your spouse, include relevant documents such as divorce decrees, death certificates, or evidence of abuse.
- Additional Documents:
- Any legal name change documentation, if applicable.
- Documentation that demonstrates bona fide marriage, such as wedding invitations, ceremony photos, honeymoon documentation, etc.
- Correspondence or evidence of joint responsibilities and activities (raising children, joint memberships, etc.).
- Affidavit of Good Faith Marriage:
- This is a personal statement signed by both spouses affirming the bona fide nature of the marriage and explaining any discrepancies in the supporting documents.
- Two Passport-Style Photos:
- These should conform to USCIS photo requirements.
- Translation of Documents:
- If any documents are not in English, include certified translations.
Remember that USCIS may request additional evidence or documents as needed during the processing of your petition. Always review the latest USCIS instructions and guidelines for Form I-751 to ensure that you are submitting the correct documents and following the most up-to-date requirements.
It’s recommended to keep copies of all documents submitted and to send your application via a trackable and reliable mailing method to ensure that your submission is received by USCIS. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the process or require legal advice, consider consulting with an immigration attorney or legal professional.