Most alien spouses who immigrate through marriage to a USC, and more recently even some who immigrate based on marriage to an LPR, must first obtain “conditional” permanent resident status before they achieve the “unconditional” rights of other LPRs. This conditional status is imposed on aliens who obtain LPR status based on a marriage that occurred within two years of their (1) entering the United States as a permanent resident, or (2) adjusting to permanent resident status within the United States. Conditional status also is imposed on the alien spouse’s children if they obtained immigrant visas based on the parent’s marriage.
A conditional resident will be issued a permanent resident card (Form I-551) that appears similar to the “green cards” issued to other permanent residents. However, the cards differ in two important respects. First, to indicate the bearer’s conditional resident status, the classification code on the front, or photo side, of the conditional resident’s card is marked “CR” rather than “IR.” Second, the card expires two years after the date of admission or adjustment.
At the end of the two-year period, the couple must file a “joint petition” to have the condition removed. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants this petition and removes the conditional status, the conditional resident spouse is accorded unconditional LPR status. USCIS, however, can terminate the conditional status at any time during the two-year period if it discovers that the marriage was dissolved or annulled, or if it determines that the marriage was entered into fraudulently. If USCIS terminates the conditional status during the two-year period or denies the couple’s joint petition to remove the condition, the conditional resident loses lawful immigration status and becomes subject to removal.
Where to get help.
Unsure of how to move forward? We can guide you through the maze of immigration matters and procedures, selecting the best path for your immigration, including the removal of conditions on status.
Immigration is a very specialized area of law; so, be sure your attorney focuses his practice on immigration and protecting your legal rights. We focus our practice on immigration law and you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or Thomasjr@geygan.com.
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