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  Removal of Conditions


Under INA 216(a), an alien spouse and an alien son or daughter of a US Citizen/LPR (“petitioning spouse/parent”) initially acquire lawful permanent residence status on a conditional basis if the marriage is less than 2 years old at the time of admission or adjustment of status. This provision was enacted to combat marriage fraud for purposes of obtaining immigrant benefits. The conditional permanent residence is granted for 2 years, after which time the alien must petition to remove conditions to obtain a 10 year green card.

To remove conditions, the alien spouse must file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, during the 90-day period immediately preceding the expiration of the lawful permanent residence status to establish bona fides of the marriage. Failure to timely file a petition to remove conditions or establish the bona fides of the marriage may result in termination of the lawful permanent residence status and initiation of the removal proceedings.

Generally, the petition to remove conditions must be filed jointly with the petitioning spouse (if not deceased) and both spouses must appear for a personal interview before an immigration officer, unless the interview is waived. However, under 216(c)(4), an alien spouse may request a waiver of the joint filing if the marriage was entered into in good faith by the alien spouse, but was terminated; if extreme hardship would result if the alien is removed; or if the alien spouse or child was battered by the petitioning spouse/parent. 
If the grounds for the waiver occurred after the joint petition to remove conditions had been filed, the petition may be converted into a waiver.  

​A properly submitted petition to remove conditions, either through a joint filing or a waiver, may increase the alien's chances of getting a waiver of personal interview and approval of the petition. Furthermore, since the alien may be eligible for naturalization after 3 years of lawful permanent residence, having an experienced attorney evaluate and prepare your case may save you years of processing time to become a citizen.