Removal of Conditions

Removal of Conditions

for Spouses of U.S. Citizens


Newly married foreign nationals who obtain permanent residency through marriage are initially granted conditional permanent residency by the USCIS. After two years of conditional permanent resident, a foreign national must seek removal of the conditions to permanent residency through petition to the USCIS. When granted the removal of conditions, foreign nationals obtain permanent residency.

Conditional permanent residents whose marriages have faulted must also apply the removal of conditions.  The procedure, however, is different based upon the non-viability of the marriage, and is often called a waiver petition.

Failure to file for the removal of conditions, or failure to follow the proper procedure, may result in a foreign national losing permanent residency and being placed in removal proceedings. Due to the importance of the removal of conditions petition, it is greatly suggested that would be applicants to contact an experienced I-751 petition attorney.

Removal of Conditions Procedure:

I-751 Joint Petition to Remove Conditions of Permanent Residency

Within ninety days of the two-year mark of obtaining conditional permanent residency, a couple must submit a joint petition to the USCIS.  The petition will require the couple to attend an appointment at the local USCIS field office, and a showing that a couple is in bona fide marriage. The interview must be attended by both spouses.

I-751 Waiver Petition to Remove Conditions of Permanent Residency

If a foreign national cannot file a joint waiver, it may be possible to file a waiver.  A waiver is possible f a foreign national:

  • would suffer hardship if removed from the country,
  • entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage has terminated, or
  • has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty.

After the waiver is submitted to USCIS, the immigration agency will either approve the petition or request that the conditional permanent resident attend an appointment at the local USCIS field office.

After Obtaining Unconditional Permanent Residency

If otherwise eligible, a foreign national spouse can obtain U.S. citizenship following the removal of conditions to the permanent residency.

I-751 Removal of Conditions: FAQs

What is conditional permanent residency?

Conditional permanent residency is the status given to married spouses of U.S. citizens who obtain permanent residency within two years of marriage.

Who is required to have conditional permanent resident?

A spouse of a U.S. citizen is granted conditional permanent residency if permanent residency is obtained within the first two years of the marriage.

What is “Removal of Conditions”? What is the I-751 Form?

The I-751 form is the document that a foreign national must submit to request the “removal of conditions” to permanent residency.

Why does the government require spouses to only have conditional permanent residency?

Simply put, the government believes it is the best way to combat immigration marriage fraud.

When is a conditional permanent resident required to file a I-751 Removal of Conditions Form?

In an ongoing marriage, a conditional permanent resident is required to file a I-751 form within the ninety days before the two year mark of when the foreign national obtains conditional permanent residency. When a waiver is sought, a conditional permanent resident may be able to file the I-751 form before the two year anniversary.

What happens if a conditional permanent resident does not file an I-751 Form?

If the removal of conditions petition is not sought, conditional permanent residency will expire after two years.

Is there an I-751 interview?

Yes, an interview is required for jointly filed I-751s.

What if my spouse refuses to sign the I-751 form? What if my spouse refuses to attend the interview?

A joint I-751 petition requires both the U.S. citizen and foreign national spouse to attend the interview.  If that is not possible,  it is highly suggested that the assistance of an attorney be sought before filing.

What if a conditional permanent resident is divorced?

If a divorce occurs during the conditional permanent residency period, the foreign national spouse is eligible to apply for a I-751 waiver form. However, the assistance of an immigration attorney is highly suggested.

Does the conditional permanent residency time period count towards the permanent residency needed for naturalization?