Everything to Know About Conditional Residency in the U.S.

What is conditional residency in the U.S.? Discover the process, requirements & critical information on maintaining legal U.S. residency status.

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: June 03, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

What Is a Conditional Residency?

Conditional permanent residency is usually held by spouses of U.S. citizens who have been married for less than two years and entrepreneurs. It places conditions on your residency and limits your green card to two years instead of ten.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) uses those two years to determine whether your marriage with your U.S. citizen spouse is honest (bona fide marriage) and lawful before they allow you to live permanently in the U.S. If you are an entrepreneur, the conditions are used to ascertain that you followed through with your investment plans.

If you wish to remove your permanent resident conditions, you should file a petition within 90 days before your conditional green card expires.

As a conditional green card holder, you have the same rights and privileges as lawful permanent residents, such as working, traveling, and living anywhere in the U.S.

How Long Is Conditional Residency?

A conditional permanent residency green card is valid for two years. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (U.S.C.I.S.) will extend your permanent residency card for 48 months if you correctly file for a condition removal.

If you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, you must correctly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days before your conditional green card expires.

If you hold an investor visa (EB5 Investor), you must correctly file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within the 90-day period before your card’s expiration date.

The U.S.C.I.S. will issue you a receipt notice that you can use to prove your status while waiting for a decision on your case. With the receipt notice, you maintain all your residency rights.


Who Is Eligible for Conditional Permanent Resident Status?

Individuals who usually receive conditional permanent residence status are entrepreneurs and foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. If the couple has children, they may also receive conditional green cards.

How Do You Remove the Conditions on the Residency Green Card?

Although conditional green card holders cannot renew their green card, they can file a petition to remove the conditions of their permanent residency. You will receive a permanent resident card if the U.S.C.I.S. approves your petition to remove conditions.

To remove the conditions on a marriage-based green card, you should file Form I-751. If you are an entrepreneur, you should file Form I-829.


Who Is Eligible to File Form I-751?

Spouses of U.S. citizens and their children are eligible to file Form I-751 for removal of the permanent resident status conditions if:

  • You are still a lawful permanent resident or married to the same U.S. citizen after two years.
  • The child is also in the parent’s Form I-751.
  • Your U.S. citizen spouse dies before the two-year period expires, and the marriage was of good faith.
    • Your marriage was in good faith, but you got a divorce or annulment before the two years expired.
    • You or your child were subject to extreme cruelty or battering by the U.S. citizen spouse.
    • The termination of your permanent residence status and deportation from the U.S. would lead to severe hardship.


    Who Is Eligible to File Form I-829?

    Entrepreneurs who wish to become permanent residents and remove conditions must prove the following:

    • They have invested, or are in the process of investing, the minimum qualifying capital.
    • They have created or can create at least ten full-time jobs within two years through the investment.


    How Do You Apply for the Removal of the Conditions?

    You should apply for the removal petition by filing Form I-751 or Form I-829 during the 90 days before your conditional residence expires. The expiration date for your Green Card is two years after the issue of the conditional permanent resident. To determine the filing date, use the U.S.C.I.S. Filing Calculator.

    You can file a late petition if you can explain your reasons and provide supporting evidence. The U.S.C.I.S. will determine whether the cause for failure to file your petition within 90 days is valid.

    If you fail to apply the petition, you may lose your residency and be removed from the U.S.

    The following is the process of removing the conditions on your permanent residence:

    • Meet the eligibility requirements.
    • Have all your documents, i.e., your current Green Card, marriage certificate, law enforcement statements proving you don’t have any criminal record or pending criminal charges, and joint documents with your spouse. If you are an immigrant investor, you may need to provide bank statements, contacts, and invoices.
    • Fill out Form I-751 or I-829, depending on your status.
    • If you are divorced, include a waiver of joint filing.
    • Pay the filing fees. You can use the U.S.C.I.S. fee Calculator to determine the suitable fee.
    • Mail your application to the U.S.C.I.S. on time.
    • Wait for the U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) decision.

    The U.S.C.I.S. might require you to file the petition jointly with your spouse or parent.

    Can I Return to the U.S. on a Conditional Green Card?

    Yes, you can return to the U.S. on a conditional green card, but there are some things to consider:

    1. Travel Duration: If you are outside the U.S. for an extended period (typically more than six months), you may be considered abandoning your residency. Limiting the duration of trips abroad is always best to prevent this perception.
    2. Reentry Permit: If you know in advance that you’ll need to be outside the U.S. for a prolonged period but less than two years, you can apply for a reentry permit (using Form I-131) before you leave. This document shows that you did not intend to abandon your status as a conditional permanent resident.
    3. Document Carrying: Always carry your conditional green card with you when traveling. It’s your proof of residency and will be needed to reenter the U.S.
    4. Lifting Conditions: If your conditional green card is close to expiring (within 90 days), you’ll need to apply to remove the conditions using Form I-751 (for those who obtained residency through marriage) or Form I-829 (for those who obtained it through investment). It’s essential to consider this timing when planning travel to ensure you’re in the U.S. to manage the process.
    5. Check Expiry Date: Ensure your conditional green card hasn’t expired before reentry. An expired card can complicate your return.
    6. Consult with an Immigration Attorney: If you have doubts about traveling outside the U.S. on a conditional green card, especially if there are any complications or unique circumstances, it’s always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney before your trip.

    How Can a Lawyer Help With Your Conditional Residency in Atlanta, GA?

    If you face difficulties removing your conditional resident status, your Atlanta family immigration lawyer can help you. The attorney can use their immigration law knowledge to assist you with immigration visas, removal of conditions, green card application, and adjustment of status. An experienced immigration attorney can help you in the following ways:

    • Explain the U.S. immigration laws and the different routes to permanent residency, such as the American Dream and Promise Act
    • Advise you on the green card process
    • Help you file a Form I-751 or Form I-829 petition for the removal of conditions
    • Assist you in proving that your marriage is genuine or bona fide
    • If you terminate your marriage during the conditional residency, the attorney will help you apply for an I-751 to waive the conditions


    Manji Law, P.C.: Your Immigration Attorney in Georgia

    Manji Law, P.C. is a trusted immigration law firm located in Georgia. With a vast understanding of Federal and Georgia immigration laws, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to guiding you through the complex process of U.S. immigration.

    Whether you seek to remove conditions from your permanent resident status or wish to understand immigration laws better, our team of seasoned attorneys will offer you professional and personalized guidance. We are committed to providing our clients with affordable legal services tailored to their needs.

    Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration law! Our attorneys are ready to assist you with your immigration needs and protect your rights every step of the way.

    People Also Ask:

    What Happens if My Conditional Green Card Expires?

    Because a conditional Green Card is not renewable, you must petition the U.S.C.I.S. to remove the conditions. You should meet the removal deadline and requirements to maintain your permanent resident status and avoid deportation from the U.S.


    What Is the Difference Between a Conditional and Permanent Resident?

    In conditional permanent residency, you receive a non-renewable green card valid for two years, while permanent residents receive a renewable ten-year green card.


    Can I Travel as a Conditional Resident?

    Conditional residents can travel in and outside the U. S. but should not exceed a combined limit of six months outside the country. If you are waiting for the U.S.C.I.S. decision on your conditions removal, you are still allowed to travel. They will issue you a receipt upon receiving form I-751, proving their continued lawful status in the U.S.