US Sponsorship Applications: What if I didn’t file to Remove Conditions on time?

If you are married for less than 2 years when your application for an immigrant visa was approved based on your marriage with a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, your will be given conditional permanent residence status upon your entry to the United States. This measure is implemented to ensure that the marriage is genuine and not a fraud or strategy to escape from or circumvent the terms of  the immigration laws.

The conditions attached to your permanent resident status can be removed by filing a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.   To remain lawful permanent resident, you must file the petition within 90 days prior to your Green card’s expiration date. Unless the conditions are removed, you cannot renew your Green Card that has traces of conditions. The consequence of not being able to renew a Green Card is losing your status as a US permanent resident.

When can you remove the conditions?

You may file a petition to remove the conditions on your status if you meet the following terms :

  • Your marriage to the same US citizen or permanent resident spouse still exist after 2 years.
  • The marriage was entered into in good faith although the other spouse died before the filing of the petition to remove conditions.
  • You entered in good faith into a marriage that ended in divorce or annulment.
  • The marriage was entered into in good faith, but you or your child eventually became battered. Either you or your child was put through an extreme hardship by your spouse who is a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • The discontinuance of your conditional resident status would result in extreme hardship to you.

What are the consequences if you failed to file within the 90– day period?

  • Automatically your conditional resident status will expire.
  • A removal proceedings shall be instituted against you with an aim of ejecting you from the country.
  • A notice shall be sent to you stating that you have failed to remove the conditions of your permanent resident status.
  • You shall receive a copy of a Notice to Appear at a hearing where you can refute the evidence presented against you. However the burden of evidence to prove compliance lies on you.

Can I still file my petition after the 90-day period?

Yes, in some few cases. You should write the Director of a proper USCIS Center and convince him or her that you have a good cause why you fail  to file the petition on time. The Director has a freedom to decide on whether or not he would give you consideration and approve your petition to restore your permanent resident status. In order to increase your chances of getting an approval, your written statement must clearly explain that you could have timely filed the petition if it were not because of an unavoidable circumstance that is beyond your control.

The substance of your declaration must be very reasonable and persuasive. For instance, instead of just stating that a timely filing of your petition could endanger your life and the life of your child or any member of your family, you could explain in details why would your life and family be in danger. But do not be too narrative in stating the facts. As much as possible make it concise but comprehensive of all the significant facts that could compel the director to grant you approval.

To ensure that your case will not be compromised, it is best to consult your immigration lawyers. Have something to ask one of our top notch immigration attorneys? Use the form on the right to message us.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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