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Removal of Conditions: What to Know

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Most green cards are permanent, expiring after 10 years, but regularly renewable. However, some green cards expire after only two years and require you to meet conditions before you qualify for a 10-year, renewable card. To get a removal of the conditions, you have to convince the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you still qualify for a permanent green card.

Removing green card conditions is a time-sensitive process. If you have questions about how to remove conditional green card restrictions, the multinational staff of the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh can help. Contact us today for more information.

What Is a Conditional Green Card?

Having your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse sponsor you is a common path to a green card. Sponsoring yourself as an immigrant investor is not. Yet, these two paths have one thing in common: they involve conditional green cards.

Most green cards last 10 years and can be regularly renewed. Conditional green cards do not last forever and cannot be renewed.

When Green Cards Are Conditional

If your spouse sponsors you and you have been married for two years or less, your green card is conditional. This includes anyone who was married for less than 2 years at the time you received your green card, including those who came to the U.S. on a fiance visa. You also receive a conditional green card if you sponsor yourself through an investor visa.

The Conditions

Conditional green cards last only two years and cannot be renewed. To continue legally residing in the U.S., you apply to remove the conditions on your green card within the 90-day window immediately preceding the expiration date. When you do, you have to prove you still qualify for the green card. When USCIS removes the conditions, it issues you a permanent, 10-year green card.

If you do not file within that 90-day window, your legal status automatically terminates, and you become removable. In limited circumstances where you show good cause—you can ask USCIS to accept a late filing.

Removing Marriage-Related Conditions

Marrying to obtain a green card is immigration fraud. To deter immigration fraud, the government issues conditional green cards to couples who have not been married for long.

You apply to remove marriage-related conditions by submitting Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. USCIS evaluates your application to verify that the marriage was legitimate when you entered into it.

Filing with Your Spouse

Generally, you and your spouse file Form I-751 jointly and provide evidence that your marriage is legitimate. Typically, this includes documentation that you:

  • Live with your spouse,
  • Share finances with your spouse,
  • Have children with your spouse, or
  • Act as a married couple in public and private.

You may include documents you submitted with previous applications and updates covering the two years since you received the green card.

Filing Without Your Spouse

Although you are supposed to file your I-751 with your spouse, you may request a waiver to allow you to file Form I-751 alone if:

  • Your spouse dies,
  • You divorce or are in the process of divorcing,
  • Your spouse subjected you or your child to battery or extreme cruelty, or
  • You would experience extreme hardship if deported or removed.

USCIS may remove the condition on your green card and issue a 10-year card even if you file alone. You need to prove you entered the marriage in good faith despite the marriage ending.

Conditional Green Card vs. Permanent Green Card

Conditional green cards are more limited than permanent green cards, as detailed in the chart below.


Conditional Green Cards Permanent Green Cards
Length 2 years 10 years
Renewable No Yes
Related Forms
  • Form I-751
  • Form I-829
  • Marriage-based green cards issued within two years of marriage
  • Investor-based green cards
  • All others
Consequences of Late Filing Automatic loss of status
You become removable
No automatic loss of status.
You have no proof of lawful status in the U.S. and cannot travel outside the USA.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

Removing green card conditions can be complicated. Whether you need help filing a simple or complex application, the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh can help. Reach out today to discuss your options.

Author Photo

Rosina Stambaugh

Rosina C. Stambaugh, founder of The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh in York, brings a wealth of expertise to immigration law. With a focus on removal defense, Ms. Stambaugh has successfully litigated cases across various Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, offering comprehensive support to clients facing diverse immigration challenges. She also represents individuals and families applying for affirmative benefits with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

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