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5 ways you can make your marriage-based green card unconditional

Having permanent residence status gives many foreign nationals living in the U.S. the assurance that they can continue to work and reside in this country without worrying about when their legal status will run out. However, federal law attaches conditions to some resident alien’s permission to stay in the country.

For instance, people whose permanent status is based on their marriage to a U.S. citizen may lose their permission to stay in the country, if authorities determine that the marriage is not legitimate. That is, that the couple only got married so that the immigrant could gain permanent residence status.

There are several ways that you can get this condition removed from your status. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you may apply to get the condition removed if:

  • You are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after at least two years
  • You are a child and cannot be included in your parents’ application for a valid reason
  • Your spouse passed away and you entered into your marriage in good faith
  • Your marriage ended by divorce or annulment, but you entered into the marriage in good faith
  • You or your child were battered or subjected to “extreme hardship” by your spouse, and entered into the marriage in good faith

Applying for getting rid of the marriage condition requires precise timing. You should not wait until your second anniversary, which is the date your green card expires. In fact, USCIS recommends applying some time during the 90 days before that anniversary. An attorney can help with the application, and provide more specific advice.

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