Powers Immigration Law

Removal of Condition on Residence

When an individual obtains his or her green card (residence) based on a marriage that is less than two (2) years old, the foreign national spouse receives conditional resident status. This means that the green card issued expires two (2) years from the date it is issued.

Why are Conditions Placed on Residence?

The reason there is a condition placed on the residence of newly married individuals is to allow some time to pass and then give an opportunity to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to re-review the issue of whether the marriage is bona fide (real) before the individual is allowed to stay permanently in the United States.

How Does One Apply to Remove the Condition?

Generally speaking, to remove the conditions on the residence, both spouses must apply together to remove the conditional status within 90 days before the expiration date on the conditional resident card (green card). This is done by filing a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) with documents that show the marriage is/was real and the filing fees.

The requirement that the husband and wife file the petition together may be waived in the following cases:

  • The conditional resident entered the marriage in good faith, but the spouse has since passed away;
  • The conditional resident entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage has since terminated due to divorce;
  • The conditional resident entered the marriage in good faith but was battered or subject to extreme cruelty by the spouse who petitioned for him or her;
  • The conditional resident gained status through the good faith marriage of his or her mother or father  but was battered or subject to extreme cruelty at the hands of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident who was the sponsor; or
  • The termination of status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.

What Happens if One Does Not Apply to Remove the Condition?

If individuals fail to apply to remove the condition during the proper time, the foreign national spouse's resident status will be terminated and (s)he may be subject to removal (deportation) from the United States.

What Happens if USCIS Determines the Marriage was Not Real?

If USCIS determines that a marriage that was the basis to sponsor an immigrant was not bona fide (not real), it can place the individual in removal (deportation) proceedings to take away the resident status and green card. Additionally, if the marriage is a sham and marriage fraud was involved, individuals may face criminal charges with prison time and monetary fines.


The article above provides general information about the process of sponsoring a spouse and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions specific to your case, to schedule a consultation, please call immigration lawyer Tanya Powers at (704) 556-1156 for the Charlotte office, (828) 394-1196 for the Hickory office, or click here.


Powers Immigration Law ("the Law Office") maintains this website to provide general information about the firm and the services it provides to its clients.  The information contained on this website is not intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied on as a substitute for seeking legal counsel.   The Law Office does not seek to enter into an attorney-client relationship with any reader of its on-line content.  An attorney-client relationship with the firm can only be formed based on personal consultation with an attorney, followed by a determination that the Law Office is willing and able to accept such representation.  Copyright ©2010 All Rights Reserved.


Powers Immigration Law ♦ tanya.powers@tmpowerslaw.com

520 8th Street NE ♦ Hickory, NC 28601 ♦ (828) 394-1196

5200 Park Road, Suite 221 ♦ Charlotte, NC 28209  ♦ (704) 556-1156