Petition to Remove Conditions
On a previous page I provided you with the definition of a Conditional Green Card and why and how the Conditions apply to marriages that are less than two (2) years old at the time the foreign national spouse was approved for lawful permanent residence status in the United States.
On this page I am going to explain to you how to get a permanent Green Card by filing a Petition to Remove Conditions.
In order to convert from conditional status to permanent status, the couple will have to file a Petition to Remove Conditions within ninety (90) days before the conditional residence status expires. If the Petition to Remove Conditions is not filed in a timely fashion, the foreign national spouse loses immigrant status and can be deported and subsequently excluded from the United States. Therefore, it is very, very important to make sure that the Petition to Remove Conditions is filed in the right location and on time.
Moreover, like almost everything else in immigration law, you really only get one (1) good shot at filing the Petition to Remove Conditions correctly. If the Petition to Remove Conditions is not approved, the foreign national spouse can and will lose immigration status. Thereafter, removal and/or deportation proceedings will ensue.
The evidence needed to be filed with the Petition to Remove Conditions includes the original Immediate Relative Visa Petition. Additionally, the couple will need to file evidence that the marital relationship has continued for the approximately two (2) years since the Conditional Green Card was issued and that the marriage is based on love, support and affection and not otherwise a sham marriage.
You need to provide the same type of evidence that was provided in the Immediate Relative Visa Petition, and any and all new evidence accumulated over the course of the next two (2) years. This could include:
1. Proof That You Have Children Together – Copies of birth certificates of your children (with both your and your spouse’s name listed) or adoption records of jointly adopted children are the best evidence that you and your spouse have a genuine marriage.
2. Evidence of Shared Resources and a Family Home – The United states Citizenship and Immigration Service wants to see that the two (2) of you share resources and are living as a family. This includes joint financial accounts as well as the maintenance of a shared home. The more documents you can provide with both your names, the better. To demonstrate that you operate as a couple, you can provide copies of jointly filed tax returns for the past two (2) years, as well as joint savings and checking account statements, investment account statements, credit card and loan statements, and bills of sale for an automobile or another large purchase.
You should also submit a copy of your lease, mortgage or deed for your family home, and utility bills in both of your names.
3. Insurance and Estate Documents – Statements that show that you are covered by your spouse’s health insurance or that he or she is covered by your insurance plan are great proof that you are a couple. The same goes for joint automobile or home insurance policies and life insurance policies that list you or your spouse as the beneficiary in case the other dies.
Additionally, provide copies of your duly executed estate documents (wills, trusts, and even information on your funeral or burial location) if you have them. This shows that you and your spouse intend for the other to inherit your property after death.
This is just some of the evidence that can be supplied. You are only limited by the evidence that you accumulate. So my advice to my clients, as always is, keep EVERYTHING!
If the Petition to Remove Conditions is approved, a permanent Green Card is issued. About a year or so thereafter, the foreign national spouse can start thinking about filing to become a United States Citizen. This is a process called Naturalization.