Marrying a U.S. citizen is one of the more common ways for a non-citizen to become a legal permanent resident of the country. If your marriage was fewer than two years old when you received your green card, though, you probably have a conditional one.
To minimize immigration fraud, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services typically gives newly married individuals conditional permanent residency cards. These cards usually expire in two years. To remove the conditions on your permanent residency and receive a 10-year card, you must file a separate petition.
When should you file your petition?
If you use your conditional permanent residency card to prove your identity or work eligibility, you do not want to let it expire. Still, you cannot file your petition to remove conditions too early. Therefore, you should plan to file your petition within the 90-day period before your conditional permanent residency card expires.
What do you have to prove?
For USCIS officials to remove the conditions on your permanent residency, you must prove you are in a bona fide marriage. This essentially means you married your spouse for reasons other than skirting the immigration laws of the U.S.
When you file your petition, you may want to include the following evidence:
- Bank statements and other records that show a joint financial life between you and your spouse
- Mortgage or rent documents that prove you live with your husband or wife
- Birth certificates for any children you share with your spouse
- Photographs of you and your spouse together
- Affidavits or other statements from friends, family members and others who can attest to the validity of your marriage
Ultimately, by filing a timely and complete petition, you boost your chances of receiving a favorable result without having to contend with additional obstacles.