Resident Alien Spouses Must Remember to Remove Conditional Status

Resident alien spouses must remember to remove conditional status after 21 months of marriage.  If not, they may face removal proceedings for themselves and their resident alien children, tearing families apart, and blocking their own path to U.S. citizenship.

A “green card” is a government issued document that proves the holder is an alien but has the right to permanently live and work in the U.S.  The alien is said to have “permanent resident status.”  When an alien marries a U.S. citizen, the alien is usually given the right, along with a green card, to live and work in the U.S., but he or she may lose this right if the government discovers the marriage existed only to give the alien a green card.

The government has decided that it will wait two years to discover whether or not the marriage is a sham.  It is said then that, for the first two years of marriage, the alien resident spouse has “conditional permanent resident status.” This is why the government puts a two-year expiration date on the first green card held by resident alien spouses.

In the last three months of this two-year period, resident alien spouses must remember to remove conditional status by making a request to the U.S. government.  If the resident alien spouse does not make this request, the green card expires and the resident alien spouse may lose permanent resident status.  The alien can then be removed from the country if the government can prove that the purpose of the marriage was to obtain a green card, or that the marriage was terminated within the two-year period, or that the U.S. spouse received something of value in exchange for marrying the alien.

Many alien resident spouses with conditional permanent resident status forget about this requirement and find themselves in removal proceedings before the immigration court.  This may have dire consequences for the alien’s future in the U.S.

Further complicating the matter, there is a requirement that the resident alien spouse and the U.S. spouse must jointly request the government to remove conditional status.  There are, however, certain circumstances where the government will waive this requirement.  You should contact an experienced immigration attorney, such as those at Raslan & Pla, LLC, to find out whether or not you qualify for such a waiver.

If you or your resident alien spouse received a green card for marrying a U.S. citizen more than 21 months ago and the resident alien spouse has not yet petitioned the government to remove conditional status, please immediately contact an experienced immigration attorney, such as those at Raslan & Pla, LLC.  Even if more than two years have passed, an experienced immigration attorney, like those at raslanpla.com, may be able to remove the conditional status and keep the noncitizen spouse in the U.S.

This post is also available in: Spanish

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