When an immigrant spouse marries a U.S. citizen, obtains their green card and has been married for less than two years, they are given conditional permanent residence. It is valid for two years.
Filing a petition
To initially apply for conditional residence, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must submit a petition for their immigrant spouse. If the petition is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the immigrant spouse will be asked to attend an interview to demonstrate that the marriage is valid, and that the immigrant spouse is eligible for conditional residence.
To remove the conditions on the green card and become a permanent resident, the immigrant spouse must file a joint petition with their spouse. This must be filed within 90 days before the two-year anniversary of the conditional green card.
It must be signed and filed together, and must include supporting documentation with evidence that it is a valid marriage. If their joint petition is approved, the immigrant spouse’s conditional status will be removed, and they will become a permanent resident.
If a couple is separated or divorced or the petitioner’s spouse refuses to file a joint petition, the immigrant spouse can file a waiver.
They will need to show that they entered into the marriage in good faith and that it either ended because of circumstances beyond their control, or that the other spouse was abusive.
Immigration petitions can be complex and take time, but there is support available for those who need help.