Conditional Green Card: A Guide to Obtaining and Removing Conditions

Written by: Rongjie Zhao
Last Updated by Rocío Torres: May 12, 2023
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Foreign nationals who are looking to live and work permanently in the United States may be eligible for a conditional green card. This type of visa is granted to foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or who invest in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 visa program. In this essay, we will discuss in detail the different types of conditional green cards, as well as the process involved in obtaining one and removing its conditionality.

Contents

Types of Conditional Green Cards

There are two types of conditional green cards available to foreign nationals: the CR-1 and IR-1 visas for spouses, and the EB-5 visa for investors. The CR-1 and IR-1 visas are issued to foreign nationals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. These visas are valid for two years and require the foreign national to file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.

On the other hand, the EB-5 visa is issued to foreign nationals who invest at least $800,000 in a U.S. business, which creates a minim of 10 W-2 jobs for U.S. workers. This visa is also valid for two years, and similarly, the foreign national must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.

Conditional green cards are a critical component for foreign nationals who wish to live and work permanently in the United States. They are intended to provide an opportunity for individuals who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or who invest in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 visa program. 

Removing Conditions

To remove the conditions on a conditional green card, the foreign national must file a Form I-751 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must be filed within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date. The foreign national must provide evidence that the marriage is still valid or that the investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 program.

The USCIS will review the petition and conduct an interview with the petitioner and their spouse or business partner. During the interview, the USCIS officer will verify that the petitioner is still eligible for a conditional green card and will ask questions about the petitioner’s relationship with their spouse or about their investment in the U.S. economy.

If the USCIS approves the petition, the foreign national will receive a permanent green card that is valid for 10 years. However, if the petition is denied, the foreign national may be placed in removal proceedings and could be deported from the United States. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney to challenge the decision and avoid deportation.

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Transitioning from a Conditional Green Card to a Permanent One

The process of obtaining a conditional green card begins with filing a petition with the USCIS. The petitioner must provide documentation to prove that the marriage is bona fide or that the investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 program. The USCIS will review the petition and conduct an interview with the petitioner and their spouse or business partners.

After the interview, the USCIS will decide whether to grant the foreign national a conditional green card. If the petition is approved, the foreign national will receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years. The foreign national must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days of the visa’s expiration date.

Once the conditions are removed, the foreign national will receive a permanent green card that is valid for 10 years. The foreign national may then apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of permanent residency.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, obtaining a conditional green card is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. Whether you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or an investor, the process of obtaining and removing conditions on a conditional green card can be challenging. However, with the right support and guidance from an experienced immigration attorney, you can successfully navigate the process and achieve your goal of permanent residency and citizenship in the United States.

If you are considering applying for a conditional green card, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements and to guide you through the process. An experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary documentation, prepare for the USCIS interview, and file the petition to remove the conditions on your green card. With the right strategy and guidance, you can successfully navigate the complex process of obtaining and removing conditions on a conditional green card, and start your journey toward permanent residency and citizenship in the United States.