U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants conditional green cards to conditional permanent residents and these cards are valid for a two year period. These residents will need to file applications to remove conditions on their cards before their conditional status expires. Conditional residents cannot apply for a renewal of status, but only to remove conditions on their cards. Failure to do so will result in the loss of legal status in the U.S.
Both U.S. citizens and green card holders can sponsor and bring their husband or wife to the U.S. They need to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS. If the beneficiary has been married to the sponsor for less than two years, USCIS will issue the beneficiary a conditional green card. This also applies to the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen who got into the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa and then got married in the U.S.
USCIS will approve such beneficiaries for permanent resident status on a conditional basis. This status will be valid for two years and cannot be renewed. The only thing they can to do to remain in the U.S. as legal residents is apply to remove conditions on their status. To get the conditions on their marriage based green cards removed, they need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence.
This petition must be filed 90 days before the expiration date printed on their cards. If this form is not filed at the right time, conditional residents would lose their status in the U.S. If they lose their status, they may not be able to remain in the U.S. and they will become removable from the country.
Conditional residents must file the I-751 applications along with their husband or wife who initially sponsored them. USCIS will waive this joint filing requirement only if the sponsor is not alive or if the marriage was terminated through divorce. If the petitioner has been battered by the sponsor or if the petitioner will face extreme hardship, if removed from the U.S., USCIS will waive the joint filing requirement.
Form I-751 must include supporting documents proving the applicant’s marital status and the required filing fee, without which USCIS will not accept the petition for processing. USCIS will provide information on the procedure to remove conditions when it issues conditional cards and it will not remind the conditional residents that they need to apply to remove conditions at the end of the conditional period.