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How to remove the conditions on the green card

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To eliminate the conditions on the permanent resident card (green card), you must submit  Form I-751: Petition to Eliminate Residency Conditions or Form I-829: Petition of Entrepreneur to Eliminate Conditions in the Citizenship Service and the United States Immigration (USCIS).

What does it mean to have conditions on the green card

You have conditions on the green card if it is valid for two years only. People can get a conditional green card by marriage or by an investment.

The USCIS grants two-year conditional green cards to ensure that your reason for obtaining it is legitimate. If you obtained the green card based on an investment, the USCIS wants to make sure that you will keep your investment in the US. If you got a green card based on marriage, the USCIS wants to make sure you got a good faith marriage, in other words, you didn’t do it just to get the green card.

When your two-year green card is about to expire, you must eliminate the conditions on the card. You must ask the USCIS to remove the conditions and grant you a non-conditional green card with a validity of 10 years. If the USCIS decides that you evaded immigration laws and denied this request, you may lose your legal status and could be deported from the United States.

How do I remove the conditions on my green card?

Eliminate the conditions on the green card based on marriage

Persons who obtained the conditional green card through marriage and who are still married to the person who helped them obtain the green card must submit Form I-751 together with their husband or wife. You must send the form to the USCIS for a period of 90 days before the card expires. You must include a fee for USD 590. You must also send the following documents with the form:

  • Copies of both sides of your green card or alien registration card to expire.
  • Two photographs of your passport type. They must have been taken within 30 days prior to the submission of the application.
  • Evidence that you got married in good faith and not to bypass immigration laws. Documents that help demonstrate good faith include the following:
  • Birth certificates of the children you had with your husband or wife.
  • Lease or mortgage contracts that show that you live with your husband or wife.
  • Financial records showing that they share assets, such as a joint checking account, shared service bills or an insurance policy that includes your husband or wife as beneficiary.
  • Sworn statements by at least two people stating that they have known you and your husband or wife since you obtained the green card and that they have personal knowledge of your marriage. It is possible that these people must swear before an Immigration official that what they wrote is true. Affidavits must include the following information:
  • The full name, address, date, and place of birth of the declarant.
  • The declarant’s relationship with you and with your husband or wife.
  • A complete explanation of how the person knows about your relationship.

What happens if I cannot file Form I-751 with my husband or wife?

Generally, you and your husband or wife must file Form I-751 together. You can seek an exemption to make the presentation without your husband or wife if you married in good faith and meet one of the following points:

  • Your husband or wife passed away. Send a copy of the death certificate that shows they were married.
  • You divorced or the marriage was annulled. Send a copy of the divorce decree or annulment documents.
  • You were physically or emotionally abused by your husband or wife. Send evidence of abuse, such as reports or records of police officers, medical personnel, social workers, courts, clergy or social service agencies.
  • Being deported from the US would cause you extreme difficulty. Send evidence that your US removal it would cause you much more difficult than what it would cause to others, such as medical reports or documents that show you have a strong connection with your community. The USCIS will only take into account situations that have changed since you obtained the green card.

You can file the exemption at any time: before, during or after the 90 days prior to the expiration of the conditional green card.

Eliminate the conditions on the green card based on an investment

To eliminate conditions on a green card based on investment, you must complete Form I-829. You must also send the form to the USCIS during the 90-day period before the green card expires. Includes a filing fee of USD 3,835. You can include your husband or wife with the conditional green card and your children in the application, or they can make the presentation separately after you make your presentation.

You must also send these documents with Form I-829:

  • Copies of both sides of your green card or alien registration card to expire.
  • Evidence of your company. Send the following documents:
  • Evidence that you started a business, (such as tax returns.)
  • Evidence that you invested or invested the money necessary for the location of your company, (as an audited financial statement.)
  • Evidence that your company has been active during the two years in which you have had the conditional green card, such as the following:
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Contracts
  • Commercial licenses
  • State or federal tax returns, or quarterly tax returns.
  • Evidence of the number of full-time employees when you started the company and now, such as payroll records, tax documents, and Forms I-9.
  • People who make the presentation such as the husband, wife or child whose husband, wife or investor father died must include the following:
  • The green card of your husband, wife, father or mother.
  • The death certificate of your husband, wife, father or mother.
  • The same evidence that the company existed as mentioned above.

When do I submit Form I-751 or Form I-829?

You must submit Form I-751 or Form I-829 during the 90-day period before the green card expires. If you do not make the presentation during those 90 days, you will lose your condition when the green card expires. However, the USCIS will accept late submissions if the delay was caused by events beyond your control. When you make the presentation, you must explain in writing why you delayed the process and request that the USCIS excuse you for the delay.

What happens if I have a criminal record?

A person who has been arrested or detained by a law enforcement officer for any reason since obtaining the green card, but NO charges were filed against him, just send an original official statement from the agency in charge of the arrest or a court order confirming that no charges were filed.

A person against whom charges have been filed since becoming a permanent resident must send the original or a copy certified by a court of a complete arrest warrant or resolution for each charge (for example, dismissal order, criminal record or order of acquittal).

What happens after I submit Form I-751?

A few weeks after you have submitted your application with the filing fee and supporting documents, you will receive a Notice of Receipt from the USCIS. Once you get your Notice of Receipt, your condition will be extended for one year while the USCIS decides whether to remove the conditions on your green card. You can use this notification along with your original green card as evidence that you are allowed to get a job and travel outside the US.

The person whose one-year extension is about to end before the USCIS has made a decision on your application and who wishes to travel or obtain a work authorization must attend the local USCIS office with the expired green card, the Notice of Receipt and the valid passport or Form I-94 to request an extension of your condition. An official will surely place the I-551 temporary stamp on the passport or on the Form I-94. This stamp will expire one year after the date of being stamped.

Biometric data

After you have submitted Form I-751 or Form I-829, you must attend an appointment to collect your biometric data. The USCIS will mail you a notification to let you know when and where to attend this appointment. You must attend the biometric data collection appointment or your request may be denied unless you send the USCIS a change of address or a request to reschedule the reasonable appointment.

Request for more information and interviews

The USCIS may request to see the original documents or interview you in person. You will receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) in the mail where they will tell you what information about you the USCIS requests. The RFE that asks you to attend an interview will specify when and where you and your husband or wife should attend.

In the interview, a USCIS official will decide with the evidence if you married in good faith or just to get the green card. Any of the following points could cause the interviewer to decide that your marriage did not take place in good faith:

  • You are much younger or much older than your husband or wife.
  • You and your husband or wife cannot speak each other’s language.
  • You and your husband or wife come from completely different cultural backgrounds.
  • Your family or friends and your husband or wife’s family or friends didn’t know they got married.
  • Your marriage was arranged by a third party.
  • You married immediately after discovering that you could be deported.
  • You and your husband or wife don’t know basic things about each other.
  • You have not lived with your husband or wife since they got married.
  • You are friends with your husband or wife’s family.
  • Your husband or wife has tried to get green cards for other people in the past.

You must attend the interview or your green card holder status will automatically expire when the green card expires.

Decision

The USCIS will mail you the final decision. If your application is approved, you will receive your new green card in the mail or notification asking you to go to a local USCIS office to obtain the new green card. You must deliver your previous green card when you receive the new one.

The USCIS will ask you to turn in the green card if your request is denied. You can appeal the decision in the removal proceedings, which take place when an Immigration court decides if you will be deported from the country.

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