Worst Case Scenarios for Conditional Green Card Holders

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USCIS may terminate a person’s conditional green card at any time if it determines that: (1) the person got married just to get a visa; (2) the marriage has been judicially annulled, dissolved, or terminated, other than through the death of a spouse; or (3) a fee or other consideration was given for filing the immigrant visa petition, other than fees to an attorney for preparing the petition.

Before terminating the green card, USCIS must send written notice to the immigrant explaining the Government’s intention to terminate the green card. USCIS will give the conditional resident an opportunity to review and rebut the evidence.

If a conditional resident does not file a Form I-751 within 2 years of receiving the conditional permanent status, USCIS can terminate the status at that time.

When USCIS issues the notice of termination, the immigrant loses all rights and privileges that accompany being a permanent resident, including the right to live and work in the US. In most cases, USCIS will issue a notice to appear (NTA) at the same time it issues the termination notice. The NTA starts removal proceedings in immigration court where USCIS has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence (this is a low burden of proof) that the immigrant is not entitled to conditional green card status. If USCIS prevails and the immigrant has no other basis for status, removal from the US can occur.

When a notice of termination is received, the conditional resident may file a waiver application (Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence). These waiver applications can be filed at any time, either before or after the two-year conditional residence period has expired. If USCIS grants the waiver, the conditions on the foreign national’s permanent resident status will be removed.

Even if the person has an approved I-751 petition, USCIS can still bring proceedings to rescind approval of permanent resident status or deny naturalization. However, the only valid basis would be if USCIS determined that the immigrant obtained permanent status through a fraud marriage, i.e., solely to evade the immigration laws.