What is the Difference Between Conditional Residence & Permanent Residence?
Jul 22, 2021 by David J Rozas
What is a Conditional Green Card?If you’re a foreign national and have been married to your spouse that is a United States citizen for under 2 years when you arrive in the US on an immigrant visa or are approved for a green card, you’ll start out your new life as a “conditional resident.”
What is the Purpose of Conditional Residency or a Conditional Green Card?This term of non-permanent residence is there for the purpose of conditional residence marriage review. The immigration authorities inspect marriages, especially newer ones, with a fine-tooth comb to ensure the marriage isn’t just a sham to get the immigrant a green card, or just a “green card marriage.” This is why some marriage-based green cards are “conditional;” it’s like a testing period.
In most ways, conditional residents have the same rights as permanent residents. They are allowed to travel in and out of the United States, accept employment without having to separately apply for a work visa, and the 2 year time period does count towards their US citizenship. Their time as a conditional resident will count for permanent residence for the purposes of applying for naturalization as long as they are approved for permanent residence after the “test” period is over. After this period, you can apply to remove conditions on your green card, which, if approved, will become a permanent resident card instead of a conditional one.
How do you Apply for Permanent Residency?To apply to remove conditions on your green card, you and your spouse must submit a joint petition on Form I-175 to USCIS, which is free to download on their website. Timing is KEY. The form must be sent in within the 90 day period before your conditional residence ends, along with further evidence that shows the marriage is real and ongoing. Submit proof of cohabitation, commingling of finances, intimacy, and raising a child together. Some examples include:
- Joint leases
- Joint bank accounts
- Joint mortgage or loan documents
- Photos from honeymoon
- Social media records
- Communication with In-Laws
- Birth certificates
- Medical records for pregnancy