If you had been married for less than two years when you were granted permanent residence (a green card), your status is conditional. The reason is that you are required to prove your marriage was legitimate and not a so-called “green card marriage” meant to thwart U.S. immigration law.

It is very important to have this condition removed. Your green card is set to expire on your second anniversary. If you do not apply to have the condition removed, you could lose your status and be subject to removal from the U.S.

You and your spouse should petition jointly during the 90 days before your second anniversary by filing Form I-751. An interview is generally required.

Note: There are waivers to the requirement that you petition jointly with your spouse. For example, if you entered into the marriage in good faith but your spouse has died or you have divorced, you can petition on your own. You may also petition on your own if you or your child was a victim of abuse or were subjected by extreme hardship by your spouse.

If any of these situations apply to you, you need not wait for 90 days before your second anniversary. You can petition at any time, but you will be required to provide evidence that removal from the U.S. would cause you extreme hardship.

Will I be deported if my case isn’t decided by my second anniversary?

No. As long as you file your Form I-751 on time (within 90 days before your second anniversary), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will extend your conditional permanent residence status until a decision has been made on your petition.

Can my child be included in this petition?

If your child received a conditional green card within 90 days of when you did, you can include your child in your petition to remove the permanent residence conditions. If your child received his or her conditional green card more than 90 days after yours, a separate Form I-751 will need to be filed.

Can I appeal if my petition is denied?

Yes. There are several avenues for appeal. If you receive a letter stating that your application to remove the conditions on your permanent residence has been denied, you need to appeal right away in order to prevent deportation and removal.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and need to remove the conditions on your green card, contact an immigration lawyer from Yew Immigration Law Group. We have handled many of these petitions and can help you provide the right evidence to show that your marriage was legitimate.