Everything you need to know about a NJ Conditional Green Card


conditional green card

How do I remove the conditions on my green card?

If you have a conditional green card that means you were married for less than two years when your spouse applied for you.  Because your marriage is of a short duration USCIS is even more suspicious than usual of fraud.  This gives USCIS a second opportunity to rule on your marriage before you get your permanent green card.  If you don’t apply to remove the conditions or if USCIS determines your marriage is a sham, they will take away your green card and place you in removal hearings

How do you know you are Conditional Resident?

If you have only recently been approved for U.S. residency and are not sure whether you are a conditional resident or when your residency will expire, look at the stamp in your passport. If it shows “CR-1” then you received only conditional residence. The date below the CR-1 will show you when your two years of conditional residency ends.  Otherwise, wait until you receive your green card.  It will show the date of expiration.  If it is less than two years, you are a conditional green card

How to Become a Permanent Resident?

To convert your conditional status to permanent status, you will need to submit a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Form I-751), with supporting evidence and the appropriate fees, up to 90 days before your conditional residence status expires. If you apply before the 90, the application will be returned to you.   If you fail to file before the two year anniversary, your card and your conditional residence status will both expire and you could be deported. You have a three-month window to file your application.

What If You Are Late in Filing the I-751?

If you miss the deadline by a short time, mail the application with a cover letter, explaining the delay. The regulations allow you to file late for “good cause” (see 8 C.F.R. § 216.4(a)(6)). Good cause could be a family or medical crisis, a move, or changes at your job.  Just make sure that you corroborate your reason with supporting evidence.  Don’t just say there was a medical emergency; provide medical documents including a letter from the treating physician proving it.  It isn’t what you say, but what you can prove that matters.

If you delay too much you can be placed into removal hearings.  At that point, your explanation becomes harder.

What supporting Evidence do you need for Form I-751?

The most important evidence you need is to support the bona fides of the marriage, that it isn’t a sham.  What I tell my clients is collect evidence documenting the relationship from when you met to engagement, marriage, and then the date of application.  From that date forward and for the next two years or so keep a copy of every bill, credit card statement, holiday card, and photographs of key events until you file form I-751.  That makes your life a lot easier when it comes to removing your conditions, because you have been collecting the information every month.  You bring those documents organized chronologically to us and we will review, create an indexed table of contents, prepare the forms, and send mail it in a timely fashion. Just make sure it is new documents, USCIS is not interested in reviewing documents it already has.

What Should I Do?

If you face a New Jersey immigration challenge, you may not need an attorney.  Find out by downloading, “Do I Need an Immigration Attorney

.”  If you should decide that you need an immigration attorney, find out how to choose the right one by downloading the book, “7 Critical Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring an Immigration Attorney.”  You can also contact me through this site or by using the chat feature.  If you are ready to speak to our knowledgeable staff you can call 888-695-6169

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