Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident Status

The Dallas, Frisco, and North Texas lawyers of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. are sensitive to the uncertainty felt by both family-based and investment-based immigrants concerning the two-year period of conditional lawful permanent resident status. We have represented applicants in both types of filings for removal of the conditional basis of lawful permanent resident status. We welcome and encourage you to contact us regarding your questions about conditional lawful permanent resident status and the filing to remove the conditional basis of that status.

In the family-based immigration context, certain individuals are granted conditional lawful permanent resident status requiring a subsequent filing and approval before lawful permanent resident status without conditions can be granted. Falling within this classification are the foreign-born spouses of U.S. citizens (and their foreign-born minor children), who obtain conditional lawful permanent resident status on the basis of a marriage that was entered into less than 24 months before the date the person(s) actually immigrated. These individuals are subject to the requirement of a subsequent joint filing by the qualifying U.S. citizen petitioner and his or her foreign-born spouse (including minor children) for the purpose of removing the conditions on the Green Card(s). The joint petition to remove the conditions must be filed within the 90-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date on which the foreign-born individual obtained permanent resident status.

There are exceptions to the joint filing requirement for family-based conditional lawful permanent residents. The requirement to file the joint petition may be waived in three circumstances: (1) if deportation or removal from the U.S. would result in extreme hardship; (2) if the marriage upon which status was granted was entered into in good faith by the conditional resident, but the marriage was terminated other than by death, and the conditional resident was not at fault in failing to file a timely petition; or (3) if the qualifying marriage was entered into in good faith by the conditional resident but during the marriage, the conditional resident (or his or her child) was battered by or subject to extreme cruelty committed by the citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.

Strategic immigration planning can assist some individuals avoid the need for a subsequent filing for removal of conditions if, for example, the date of actually obtaining the status of a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence can timed such that the qualifying marriage was more than 24 months old at the time of that admission. In many cases, though, spouses who are anxious to re-unite and continue their lives together wish to do so as quickly as possible regardless of the subsequent filing requirement.

Conditional lawful permanent resident status also attaches to the initial grant of immigrant status in the Employment-based 5th Preference immigrant visa category for EB-5 immigrant investors. In order for the conditional basis of the lawful permanent resident status of immigrant investors, and their spouses and children, to be removed, the immigrant investor must file a petition within the 90-day period preceding the second anniversary of his or her admission to the U.S. as a conditional lawful permanent resident. The immigrant investor must establish compliance with the requirements of the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

Generally, for both family-based and investment-based immigrants, it is important to keep in mind that the rights, responsibilities and duties which apply to all other lawful permanent residents apply to conditional lawful permanent residents, as well. That means that conditional permanent residents may if otherwise eligible apply for naturalization, file petitions on behalf of qualifying relatives, and reside permanently in the U.S. That also means that conditional permanent residents have a duty to register for the Selective Service System, and must comply with all laws and regulations of the U.S.