Removal of Conditions: Everything You Need to Know
If you have a conditional green card, it means that your permanent resident status is not yet fully secure. To maintain your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, you'll eventually need to take action and remove the conditions on your residency. This guide explains everything you need to know about the process of removal of conditions, including what steps to take and when.
Everything You Need to Know About Removal of Conditions
As an immigrant with a conditional green card, you likely have many questions about the process of removal of conditions. This guide provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, including:
- What are the conditions of my green card, and why do I need to remove them?
- What does it take to remove conditions from a green card?
- When should I get ready to remove the conditions on my green card?
- How much does removal of conditions cost?
- Can I remove conditions alone, or should I hire an attorney?
- What happens if I don't remove the conditions on my green card?
The following sections give you the answers you need.
What Are the Conditions on My Green Card, and Why Do I Need to Remove Them?
If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or through investment in a U.S. business, then your residency status is conditional. This means that it will expire after two years unless you take action to remove the conditions and obtain a 10-year green card.
The conditions on your green card can be removed by filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You'll need to file this petition during the 90 days before your green card expires. If you don't file on time or if your petition is denied, you'll lose your permanent resident status and may be deported from the United States.
You'll need to meet a few requirements to remove the conditions on your green card. For example, you'll need to show that you're still married to (or have remained married to) your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or that you've continued to invest money in a U.S. business. You'll also need to show that you continue to live in the United States.
Related: Can I work in the U.S. while I’m waiting for my green card?
What Are the Steps Involved in Removal of Conditions?
The process of removal of conditions involves filing a petition with USCIS. Many people choose to work with an attorney to fill out and file this petition, which can be time-consuming and confusing. A simple mistake could get your petition kicked back, so working with an attorney helps ensure that it's filled out fully and correctly. The petition is called an I-751, and it must be filed during the 90 days before your green card expires.
To complete the I-751, you'll need to gather documents showing that you meet the requirements for removal of conditions. For example, if you're married, you'll need to provide evidence of your relationship, such as joint bank statements or tax returns. If you have children, you may also need to include their birth certificates. After you've gathered all the required documents, you'll need to fill out the I-751 and submit it to USCIS.
Related: Why some green card applications get denied
After USCIS receives your petition, they'll send you a receipt notice confirming that they've received it. They may also ask you to attend an interview, during which they'll ask you questions about your relationship or business. After the interview, USCIS will make a decision on your petition. If it's approved, you'll receive a 10-year green card in the mail.
If your petition is denied, you'll receive a notice explaining why. You may be able to appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen your case, but you'll need to act quickly. If you don't take action, you could be deported from the United States. (See the later section, "A Word on Deportation," for more information on removal proceedings related to failure to remove conditions.)
When Should I Start Preparing to Remove the Conditions on My Green Card?
As soon as you receive your conditional green card, you should start preparing to remove the conditions. Begin gathering documents that you'll need to submit with your petition, such as evidence of your relationship or business. You should also start collecting any other required documentation, such as birth certificates for your children.
You'll need to file your I-751 petition during the 90 days before your green card expires, so it's important to start the process early. If you wait until the last minute, you might not have enough time to gather all the required documents or to fix any mistakes on your petition.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove the Conditions on My Residency Status?
The filing fee for an I-751 petition is subject to change, so it's best to talk to an attorney or visit USCIS's website to determine the current cost.
Related: Common immigration lawyer fees explained
Can I Remove the Conditions on My Own, or Do I Need Help from a Lawyer or Other Professional?
You can remove the conditions on your own, but it's complicated and time-consuming. Many people choose to work with an attorney to ensure that their petition is filled out correctly and to avoid any mistakes that could cause their petition to be denied.
What Happens if I Don't Remove the Conditions on My Residency Status?
If you don't remove the conditions on your residency status, you'll lose your permanent resident status and may be deported from the United States. Therefore, it's important to start the process early and to work with an attorney to ensure that everything is done correctly.
A Word on Deportation for Failing to Remove Conditions on a Green Card
If you're deported (removed) from the United States, you can't come back for a specific period of time. Even if you have a family, a job and an entire life here, you'll be required to leave the country and barred from returning. Some people who are deported are never allowed back into the U.S., so it's important that you're extremely careful with your removal of conditions petition - and that you file it in time.
Related: The COVID vaccine requirement for permanent residence
Do You Need a Lawyer for Removal of Conditions on Your Green Card?
If you're planning to remove the conditions on your green card, you may want to consider working with an attorney. An attorney can help you gather the required documents, fill out your petition correctly, and avoid any mistakes that could cause your petition to be rejected.
We can help you remove the conditions from your green card. Just call our office today to schedule your consultation with an experienced immigration attorney who cares about you and your case. We'll be happy to answer your questions and ensure that we help you every step of the way.