Many immigrants moving to California are granted a conditional residence status. This status can be granted for a few reasons, but is often granted to married couples which allows families to remain together. When this status is admitted, a green card is issued that is valid for two years. There is then a 90-day window in which a petition can be filed for the removal of conditional residence status.
In order to qualify to remove conditions based on marriage, certain eligibility criteria apply. Immigrant applicants are typically allowed to apply if they can show they are and have been married to the same individual for at least two years and that person is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; if they entered a marriage in good faith but their spouse passed away; they have been divorced or they are a victim of domestic violence. It is also possible for children to apply on their own, if they cannot be included on a parental application.
Applications must by filed by both the individual seeking conditions removal and their spouse. It is imperative that this application be completed before the expiration date provided on the green card. If applications are not submitted before that time, conditional resident status may be revoked. Late applications can be filed, but a good cause for failing to apply on time must be provided.
After an application is submitted, an interview may be necessary before a decision to remove conditions can be made. If an application for the removal of conditional residence status is denied the deportation process may begin. Appeals can typically be filed within 30 days of receiving a deportation order.
The road to permanent residence status isn’t easy, but it is possible to achieve. This process can be complex, somewhat confusing and certainly not something anyone should have to face on their own.
Throughout this process, California immigrants seeking a removal of conditional residence status may require legal assistance to ensure they have all the required documentation and forms necessary for application, and to provide insight of the legal rights and protections available to them.
Source: uscis.gov, “Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage,” accessed Aug. 4, 2014