San Antonio, TX – When a non-US citizen marries an American national, they expect they’ll get a Green Card and full rights immediately. However, if you were married for less than two years at the time your Green Card is approved you will only receive conditional permanent residency. To get a real Green Card, you’ll have to apply for removal of conditions and you’ll have to convince US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials your marriage is not a sham.
What is conditional permanent residency?
If you look closely, you’ll see that your Green Card is marked CR1, which stands for conditional residency. If you’ve got it after your marriage, it will also bear an IR marking, which means immediate relative.
This type of card is valid for two years and is not renewable.
When do I need to file for removal of conditions?
There is a very specific window during which you must apply for removal of conditions, namely the 90 days before your conditional Green Card expires. You cannot apply early and you certainly mustn’t apply after the card expires.
You should talk to an experienced Green Card lawyer to help you with the paperwork involved. One of the most annoying problems is that you will have to submit proof that your marriage is real, just as you had to when you first got married.
You cannot submit the same proof as before. The USCIS will expect documents on joint bank accounts, a house lease in both your names and birth certificates of the children you might have had in the 2 years since you got married. Also, you can submit pictures of your trips as a couple or showing you celebrating your birthday together.
In many cases, you and your spouse may be called for an interview at the San Antonio USCIS office.
On the other hand, if your lawyers submit enough evidence with your removal of conditions application, the USCIS officers may decide there’s no need to bother with an interview.
If all goes well, you’ll get a permanent Green Card which is valid for 10 years and is also renewable. However, in those 10 years, you’ll probably want to apply for citizenship. A skilled lawyer can help you with that as well.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
If you file after the deadline you must present proof of extenuating circumstances that prevented you from filing your application on time.
If you forget to apply for removal of conditions, your presence on US territory becomes illegal the moment your conditional Green Card expires.
You risk being placed in deportation proceedings, which can be a very traumatic experience. You’ll have to speak to a reliable deportation attorney in San Antonio right away. Since you are legally married to a US citizen, you probably won’t be deported, but you may have to attend at least one immigration hearing.
Also, keep in mind that after your card expires you start accruing “unlawful presence” which could lead to you being barred from the United States for 3 to 10 years if you left the country and tried to reenter.
If you want help with removal of conditions or any other problem related to marriage-based immigration, get in touch with an experienced lawyer at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen, servicing the San Antonio area.
San Antonio, TX
206 East Locust Street
San Antonio, TX 78212
Phone: (210) 769-3273
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