Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) who received their green cards through marriage and were married for less than two years at the time permanent residency was granted will receive what is called “conditional residence.” Conditional residence means that the LPR will receive a green card that expires after two years. Just before the two years is up, the LPR, together with his or her spouse, will have to file an application to remove the conditions on residency in order to obtain a permanent green card. Failure to file this application timely will result in a lapse of status, rendering the foreign national deportable from the U.S.
The purpose of the removal of conditions applications is for the immigration service to have a second opportunity to determine whether the marriage on which the green card was based is legitimate. Thus, the removal of conditions application must be supplemented by extensive documentation evidencing the continued bona fide nature of the marriage.
Sometimes marriages fail or other unforeseen circumstances occur within the first two years, before the filing of the removal of conditions application. Thus, in the cases of divorce, death of the U.S. citizen spouse, or abuse by the U.S. citizen spouse, an LPR may apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. In order to receive a waiver, the LPR must show that he/she entered the marriage in good faith at its inception.
EB-5 Entrepreneurs are also initially given two-year, conditional permanent residency. The purpose of the conditional residency in the EB-5 context is for the entrepreneur to show that he/she has substantially met the capital investment and job creation requirements of the EB-5 category.