Understanding the Conditional Green Card Process for Families: How The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. Can Help

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With the professional guidance of The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., discover the essentials of the conditional green card process, including how to transition to lawful permanent resident status.

What Is a Conditional Green Card?

A conditional green card is a type of green card that is issued to U.S. immigrants who have been granted conditional permanent resident status.

As a rule, conditional permanent residents have the same rights as lawful permanent residents (LPRs). They can live anywhere in the U.S. and work without needing to obtain an employment authorization document. However, the rights and privileges of conditional green card holders are time-bound.

Unlike regular green cards, conditional green cards are nonrenewable and are only valid for two years. Before the two years expire, conditional green card holders are expected to initiate the process that would allow them to transition into lawful permanent residents and obtain regular, renewable green cards or risk losing their immigration status.

Many conditional green card applicants find the immigration process difficult to navigate and often make costly mistakes because of the multiple steps required to first obtain the conditional green card and then convert to lawful permanent residents. But that doesn’t have to be you. 

At The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva P.A., we understand that securing your future as a lawful U.S. resident is a top priority. We are here to guide you through the complexities of the conditional green card application and transition process and help you overcome the hurdles of the immigration system without jeopardizing your stay in the country.

In this quick guide, we discuss how family-based conditional green cards work, how to obtain one, and the steps required to remove the conditions on a conditional green card. Find out more below.

Eligibility for Family-Based Conditional Green Cards

Foreign spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (and their minor children) generally qualify for permanent residence.

If the marriage based on which they qualify is less than two years old on the day they become permanent residents, they will be granted conditional resident status and issued a conditional green card. But if the marriage is over two years old, it’s straight to LPR status.

Essentially, the basic eligibility requirement for a family-based conditional green card is marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. However, eligibility alone does not guarantee a conditional green card. You must go through the formal application process and meet the conditions set by the immigration authorities to get a conditional or any green card at all.

Applying for a Marriage-Based Conditional Green Card: A Summary of the Process 

The green card application process for spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents typically begins when the sponsoring spouse (the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse) files an immigrant petition, Form I-130, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once the petition is approved, the applicant (the foreign spouse) will need to go through the next phase of the application process (adjustment of status if they are in the U.S. or consular processing if they are outside the U.S.).

Generally, green card applicants are required to wait for an immigrant visa to be available in their category (after the approval of the immigrant petition) before applying to adjust their status or proceeding with consular processing. However, the spouses of U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement and do not need to observe this waiting period. 

Based on their status as immediate relatives (a special immigrant category used to refer to certain close relatives of U.S. citizens only), the spouses of U.S. citizens can file the form for adjustment of status (I-485) at the same time as the I-130 petition in a process known as concurrent filing.

Required Documentation 

While filing the initial petition and the actual green card application, you and your spouse would need to complete several immigration forms and supply the authorities with certain crucial documents.

Some of the required documents are:

  • Your marriage certificate
  • Proof of the sponsoring spouse’s immigration status
  • Government-issued identity documents
  • Birth certificate.

Failing to provide the necessary documents could lead to processing delays or cause your application to be denied. This also applies if there are mistakes in the immigration forms or during the process itself. 

Understandably, identifying and collecting the specific documents needed to succeed with your application might be challenging. Our experienced immigration lawyer can save you the hassle and help you spot or prevent such issues before they occur. 

The Green Card Interview

As the applicant, you may also need to attend an interview at the USCIS, U.S. embassy, or consulate in your home country. It is important to prepare for the interview to ensure you’re not caught off guard. Our immigration lawyer in Miami can help you understand what to expect beforehand so you can confidently navigate the process.

Removing the Conditions on Your Green Card

Once you successfully complete the green card application process, you’ll be issued a green card. 

Green cards for consular processing applicants are issued after they arrive in the U.S. on an immigrant visa and are admitted into the country by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.

As stated earlier, you’ll receive a conditional green card if your marriage is less than two years old. The expiry date will be specified on the physical green card. In the 90 days before that date, you must file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residence so you can become a lawful permanent resident. 

Your I-751 petition must be completed accurately and must reflect the authenticity of your marriage. Otherwise, it could be denied. Even worse, you could be indicted for marriage fraud.

Form I-751 is supposed to be a joint petition filed by you and your spouse. But if you’re dealing with issues such as domestic abuse, divorce, separation, or anything else that would make joint filing impossible, don’t worry. There are legal exceptions that could allow you to file your petition alone. Our skilled immigration lawyer can assess your case and help you determine your options if meeting the joint filing requirement becomes a problem.

We must underline the importance of timing for those seeking to remove the conditions on their conditional green cards. Missing the 90-day deadline can have dire consequences, and those who fall short may be placed in removal proceedings. Therefore, ensuring that your  I-751 petition is filed correctly and within time is vital to maintaining legal status in the U.S.

Contact Us Today to Speak With Our Experienced Immigration Attorney

The road to becoming a conditional resident can be difficult. Even after attaining conditional resident status, your stay in the U.S. is not guaranteed unless you can remove the conditions on your residence and attain lawful permanent resident status. Seeking professional guidance from the get-go can be the key to ensuring a seamless transition.

We at The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., understand the complexities of the application process and are here to help you navigate the system as you strive to secure your stay in the U.S.

No matter where you are in the conditional green card process, our dedicated team can provide comprehensive support and legal assistance to help you overcome the hurdles of the immigration process and make informed choices every step of the way.

Contact us today to speak with our experienced immigration lawyer. Let us take the next steps in this crucial journey together.

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