What is conditional permanent residence?

The concept of conditional permanent residency may seem like an oxymoron, but it is indeed possible to become a temporary “permanent” foreign resident of the United States. Not all green cards start out conditionally, but some do. 

Essentially, if you have your green card through marriage with a U.S. national or through investing as an entrepreneur, you will have conditional permanent residence at first, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

How do I remove conditions on permanent residence through marriage?

The idea behind conditional permanent residency for marriage is to ensure that your marriage is valid and was not done to circumnavigate U.S. citizenship laws. You start off with the conditional green card, and then you and your spouse must fill out Form I-751 jointly in the three-month period before the conditional green card expires. 

In the event that you and your U.S. national spouse have divorced prior to filing Form I-751, it is possible for you to fill it out alone and remain in the United States, depending on your circumstances. If your marriage ended due to the negligent actions of the U.S. national spouse (like committing acts of infidelity), then it is likely the officials will view your case more sympathetically. 

How do I remove conditions on permanent residence through entrepreneurship?

The process for entrepreneurs is very similar to that for spouses, other than you will be filling out Form I-829 rather than form I-751. The conditional green card for entrepreneurs is also valid for a two-year period and you must submit Form I-829 within the last three months of the initial green card’s validity.