Contrary to popular myth, immigrants who marry U.S. citizens do not become green card holders right away, or automatically. In fact, the first green card that they receive is, in some cases, not the same as other green cards. It has a two-year expiration date. This is the case for immigrants whose marriages to the U.S. citizen had not yet reached their second anniversary at the time they were approved for U.S. residence or entered the U.S. on an immigrant visa. It is very important for conditional residents to understand that if they don't take action before the two-year expiration date of their green card, and apply to have the "conditions" removed and become permanent residents, they will lose their rights to a green card or to remain in the United States.
Why Some Marriage-Based Green Cards Are "Conditional"
Why immigrants in new marriages must go through a two-year testing period.
When Conditional Residence Counts Toward U.S. Citizenship
Good news: A conditional green card acts just like every other one when it comes to applying for citizenship (assuming you succeeded in becoming a permanent resident first).
Marriage-Based Conditional Residents: When and How to Apply for a Permanent Green Card
Timing and overview of the process of going from conditional to permanent residence.
How Does a Conditional Resident Prove Status With a Pending I-751?
Dealing with the period between filing the I-751 and awaiting a USCIS decision.
Submitting Documentary Evidence of Good-Faith Marriage With Form I-751
How to document your good faith marriage in order to request that your two-year, conditional green card be turned into a permanent one.
Submitting Late Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
If you have a good reason for filing late, or qualify for a waiver, it will likely be worth submitting Form I-751 even after the deadline.
Filling Out USCIS Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Line by Line)
Navigating the joint petition on Form I-751, for marriage-based green card applicants who received two-year conditional approval.
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What If Your U.S. Spouse Won't Sign the Joint Petition (I-751)?
Waivers are available for conditional residents seeking permanent residence without their spouse's cooperation.
Divorce and Your Conditional Residence Status: How to File a Divorce Waiver With Form I-751
Possibilities for going from conditional to permanent U.S. residence despite a divorce from your U.S. citizen petitioner.
Filling Out Form I-751 With a Hardship Waiver
Guidance for conditional residents whose marriage ended before the two-year expiration date on their green card.
Filling Out Form I-751 With a Waiver Based on Abuse or Battering
If you are a conditional resident and a victim of domestic violence, this waiver may help you.
Conditional Residents: How to File I-751 for Green Card After Spouse's Death
No need to wait until the two years are ending -- widows and widowers can submit their I-751 for permanent residence immediately after the death of a spouse.
My husband is controlling, but hasn't hurt me -- can I get abuse waiver with I-751?
Actual physical harm is not required in order for a conditional resident to claim a waiver of the joint filing requirement on USCIS Form I-751.
How Can I Protect My Immigration Status in a Divorce If I’m Still a Conditional Resident?
Strategies for dealing with problems that arise for an immigrant in divorce proceedings who is still a conditional resident, and who still faces the challenge of applying for permanent residence.
Conditional Resident With Abusive Spouse? File Form I-751 Early, Get Green Card Sooner
If, during your marriage, your U.S. spouse physically or emotionally abused you or your child, you will be allowed to file Form I-751 alone, and without waiting for the 90-day window before your conditional resident status expires.
Filing Form I-751 as Conditional Resident Child of Divorcing Parents
It’s going to be up to the child applicant to show either that the parents got divorced after a marriage that was real, the child was battered or subject to extreme cruelty during the marriage, or that making the child leave the U.S. will cause “extreme hardship.”
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Fiance and Marriage Visas: A Couple's Guide to U.S. Immigration
This comprehensive guide contains detailed information on filling out and submitting Form I-751.