Coming to the United States under a conditional green card may not have been in your plans, but when you met and fell in love with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, those plans may have changed quickly. However, one thing that does not happen quickly is the immigration process, especially for someone entering the country to get married.
As you can expect, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services places many limits and restrictions on those wishing to take up residency. This is to prevent the opportunity for fraud and to protect the safety of U.S. citizens. Because of this, when you came to Texas to get married, your residency status carried conditions. You may be interested in the process of having those conditions removed.
How do I qualify?
The conditions on your status remain for two years, and as you approach the second anniversary of receiving your green card, you must begin taking steps to adjust your status. Ninety days before your conditional residency expires, you and your spouse can complete Form I-751 to apply for removal of conditions. Failing to do this means USCIS will begin the process of removing you from the country. You will be eligible to have your status changed to permanent residency if you meet the following qualifications:
- You and your spouse are still married after two years.
- You and your spouse married with good intentions, but your spouse died before your two-year anniversary.
- You and your spouse married in good faith, but the marriage ended in divorce or annulment before the second year.
- Your U.S. citizen spouse or permanent-resident spouse abused you or endangered you after you received your conditional status.
If your situation includes any of the last three factors mentioned above, USCIS will not require you to apply with your spouse for removal of your conditions. In fact, in these cases, you will not have to wait the full two years before requesting the waiver and applying for a status adjustment if you can provide proof that your deportation will be a hardship for you. You will also have to present a death certificate, divorce decree or evidence that your spouse was abusive to you or your children.
Completing the process
Following the submission of your application, you may receive an appointment for an interview with an immigration agent. The agent will ask you questions about your marriage and other personal information to determine whether you lawfully obtained your presence in the country. If your process is successful, you will receive your permanent residency green card soon after that.
Your permanent residency in this country may be of primary importance to you. Many in your situation find comfort in the assistance of a Texas attorney who has experience working with those seeking permanent residency in the United States.