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Obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is an important milestone. It grants a person the rights and privileges of a lawful permanent resident of the United States—with some requirements. Applicants should understand that this initial status is provisional if the couple has been married for less than two years at the time of admission to this country.

There are steps you can take to remove these limitations. When you have questions about removing conditions of residence in Cicero, it is invaluable to have the support of an attorney as soon as possible. Let a skilled green card attorney assist you with securing permanent legal status in the U.S.

What Is a Conditional Green Card?

Upon being admitted provisionally, the spouse of a citizen enjoys all the same rights and privileges as any other immigrant. However, there is one more step to make this status long-term: removing conditions of residence within two years.

During this two-year period, a spouse and his or her sponsor must establish a solid record of their married relationship together. This probationary period is aimed at discouraging marriage fraud while ensuring genuine relationships between spouses seeking immigration benefits.

At the end of the two-year period, an applicant must file Form I-751—Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence—with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). This document is proof that a marriage continues to be legitimate and not solely for immigration purposes.

Once USCIS approves an I-751 petition, both the applicant and any children included in the same application will receive 10-year Green Cards. This removes the restrictions on their legal status.

Consequences of Not Filing Form I-751

If a person fails to file Form I-751 before the expiration of their Green Card, he or she risks losing their legal resident status. In some situations, this could result in potential removal from the U.S. When a person fails to file Form I-751, he or she can submit a late filing, along with a written explanation and a request for USCIS to excuse the delay. The government may excuse the late filing if the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the person’s control and that the delay was reasonable under the given circumstances.

The U.S. government will grant an exception if people are applying for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. In these situations, a couple has flexibility in terms of when they can file Form I-751— any time after being granted provisional residence but before facing removal from the country.  Consulting with an attorney before approaching this type of waiver can be helpful, since a mistake during the process could have steep consequences. A Cicero attorney could help you understand the various reasons for removing conditions of residence.

Why Applications Are Denied

Not every petition is accepted by the government. Sometimes, the U.S. refuses to remove these conditions or extend the length of the Green Card. One of the most common reasons for a denial  is the failure to comply with the deadline. Even though there is a process for having a late application reconsidered, a finding that the form was filed late without good cause could result in a denial.

In Cicero, another common cause for removing the conditions of residence is the suspicion that the couple’s marriage is fraudulent. The USCIS observes a married couple to ensure that their union was not entirely motivated by immigration purposes.

A lack of documentation can also be to blame. Often, the federal government will request additional documents to determine if the union is valid. The failure to provide them could lead to a denied petition.

Talk to an Attorney in Cicero About Removing Conditions of Residence

When you are concerned about the process for removing conditions of residence in Cicero, consult with an attorney right away. Your loved one could have the opportunity to gain a permanent Green Card so long as he or she meets all the necessary requirements. Reach out to a skilled immigration attorney today to learn more.

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