Removal of Conditions Attorney in Greenbelt, Maryland
Those of us who have worked hard our whole lives towards the dream of living in the United States know what a long road we’ve had to walk. There are many different ways to get here, but one of the most common is by marrying a U.S. citizen and gaining status as a conditional permanent residence (also known as getting your green card).
When this happens, you’re legally able to live and work in the country for two years, after which time you must apply for the removal of those conditions if you want to become a lawful permanent resident. This process can be straightforward for some, but for others, you may need the help of an immigration attorney.
If you’re in the Greenbelt, Maryland, area, or anywhere throughout Prince George’s County and would like to speak with an experienced lawyer, call us at The Anyere Law Firm, LLC. We know firsthand what you’re going through and can help you get to the other side.
What Is Removal of Conditions?
If you’re a citizen of another country and marry a U.S. citizen, you’ll be granted a provisional green card known as a conditional permanent residence. However, you will still have the same rights and privileges as someone with permanent residency. This test period is in place to discourage people who are simply marrying to gain citizenship and who may try to bypass U.S. customs laws by taking part in a sham wedding.
This conditional residency only lasts two years and cannot be renewed if you received it by marriage. After this time you must apply to have these conditions removed. If your request is granted, then you will receive a regular permanent resident status.
Who Is Eligible for Removal of Conditions?
In general, if you’ve been married to a U.S. citizen for two years, you are eligible to apply for removal of conditions. You may also be eligible if you were divorced during this time as long as you can show that you entered the marriage in good faith and it ended due to irreconcilable differences. If your spouse died during this time, you can still apply two years after you were originally married. If you had any minor children at the time of your marriage who also received a conditional status, you can apply for permanent resident status for them as well.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
It is extremely important that you file on time to change your status from conditional to permanent. If you fail to do this on time, you could jeopardize your residency status and you’ll likely be put in removal proceedings with an immigration court. This means you are at risk of deportation.
That said, if you are already late in filing, there are steps you can take to be granted an extension or waiver. There will always be extenuating circumstances that come up that may cause a delay and the best thing you can do for yourself is contact an immigration attorney who can help you contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and petition to have a waiver granted.
The Process of Filing for Removal of Conditions
You must apply for removal of conditions within 90 days of your conditional resident card expiring. In most cases, you will apply for removal of conditions jointly with your spouse, but there are circumstances when you would want to or need to apply on your own. This could happen after a divorce, after the death of a spouse, or if you or your children have been abused by your spouse. Additionally, you may be able to apply even if these conditions don’t apply to you if you can show that you would experience great hardship if you did not receive permanent status.
You will need to fill out Form I-751 and submit it to the USCIS within 90 days of your second wedding anniversary. With this, you will need to provide a copy of your green card along with biometric information like photographs or fingerprints. You will also be asked to provide evidence that your marriage has been in “good faith.” This could be shown through joint bank statements or utility bills, joint loans with your spouse, or birth certificates of any children who were born after your marriage.
Lastly, you will need signed affidavits from two people who have known you as a couple and can attest that your marriage is authentic. Because so much depends on having enough evidence to prove you deserve permanent residency, many people work with an attorney who can help you gather evidence and submit it.
Removal of Conditions Attorney Serving Greenbelt, Maryland
If you’re in the Greenbelt, Maryland, region and would like to speak with an experienced attorney about your immigration concerns, reach out to us at The Anyere Law Firm, LLC. You’ve worked hard establishing your new life in the U.S., and we’ll work just as hard to make sure you can keep enjoying it.