If you marry a U.S. citizen, you will not get a U.S. citizenship right away, but you may become eligible for a U.S. green card, which can lead to U.S. citizenship.
A “Conditional Green Card” is what you may receive from the immigration authorities, due to concern that recent marriages are more likely to be shams.
A conditional resident has the same rights as a permanent resident. He or she can travel in and out of the U.S., accept employment without separately applying for a work permit and start working toward U.S. citizenship (when approved for permanent residence).
You may apply to remove your conditional resident status if:
– you are still married to the same U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident after two years;
– you are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith;
– you entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment;
– you entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;
– you are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason;
– the termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship to you.
For more specific eligibility requirements you may see Form I-751.The USCIS Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, can be filed regardless of whether you are physically present in the U.S. at the time that you file. However, you must return to the U.S. with your spouse and your children in order to comply with the interview requirement.
If you fail to file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against you. You will receive a notice from the USCIS telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions, and you will also receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and confute the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements.
The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the Regional Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.
If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.
You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements if:
– Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship.
– You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition.
– You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen of legal permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition.