Permanent residence is not available to foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens solely for immigration purposes. Immigration officers see such marriages as shams, so they are very careful about investigating marriage cases. As a result of these suspicions, if you have been married for less than 2 years when your permanent resident application is approved, you will receive a conditional permanent resident card. A conditional permanent resident card is valid for 2 years. In order to retain your permanent resident status, you must file a petition to remove the conditions within the 90 days before the card expires. This post will focus on applying to remove conditions on your permanent resident status if you are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years.
If you and your spouse are still married, you should jointly file a Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, form I-751. A crucial part of this form is submitting evidence of your relationship to show that the marriage was entered in good faith and not for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws. Therefore, you should keep as many documents as you can to prove the validity of your marriage from the date of your marriage to the present date. Examples of such documents include, but are not limited to:
- Birth certificates of children born to your marriage
- Leases with both of your names to prove that you have been living together the entire time
- Joint bank account statements
- Joint tax returns
- Utility bills with both of your names
- Photographs of you together with family and friends
- Affidavits by people who know both of you since your conditional residence was granted and have personal knowledge of your marriage and relationship
Remember that if you do not apply to remove the conditions during the 90 days before your conditional permanent resident card expires, your conditional resident status will be terminated and removal proceedings against you will begin.
While this blog gives you a glimpse into the type of evidence needed for a successful petition to remove conditions, a skilled immigration attorney can give you much more information.
Stay tuned for our next post, which will focus on removing conditions on your permanent resident status if you are no longer married or if you are in divorce proceedings but are not yet divorced.