A few categories of people immigrating to the United State start out not with regular permanent residence, but what's called "conditional residence." Their conditional green card is valid for only two years, at the end of which they must, in order to switch to a permanent green card (permanent U.S. residence) fulfill specific conditions and successfully file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Specifically, conditional green cards are issued to two types of immigrants, namely those who applied for green cards based on:
If you hold a conditional green card, here's what to watch out for in order to make sure you abide by the terms of your status and can eventually qualify for permanent residence, rather than having the U.S. government revoke or cancel your right to be in the United States.
Whether you're a conditional green card holder or a permanent resident, you have certain responsibilities in order to maintain your status in the United States. You must, for example:
If you violate any of the above responsibilities, your conditional green card can be revoked, in which case you would be removable from the United States.
If U.S. immigration authorities discover that you didn't deserve your immigration status in the first place, they can take steps to revoke your conditional residence.
For example, if you are alien entrepreneur who obtained your investment capital through illegal means (such as through the sale of illegal drugs), and U.S. immigration authorities find out about it, your conditional resident status could be revoked. (See 8 C.F.R. § 216.3.)
Or, if you got your conditional residence based on marriage and the qualifying marriage was a sham to get a green card or has been judicially annulled or terminated (other than through the death of your spouse); or you paid the U.S. citizen to get you a green card; your conditional resident status may be revoked. You may request a hearing to review this determination. (See § 216 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) or 8 U.S.C. § 1186a.)
Like any green card holder, you can be removed from the U.S. if you do something that makes you deportable under Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) (8 U.S.C. § 1227), such as committing a crime or espionage or engaging in terrorist or subversive activity.
Also, if you leave the U.S. for more than 180 days (around six months) and try to return, you can be found inadmissible. (You might remember that you had to overcome the grounds of inadmissibility when first applying for the green card, such as proving that you didn't have any communicable disease of public health significance, weren't likely to become a public charge, and again, hadn't committed significant crimes.)
During the ninety days before the two-year anniversary of the date on which you received your conditional lawful resident status, you must apply to USCIS to have the conditions removed. The exact procedures to follow depend on your status:
Failure to file the appropriate application by the deadline will in most cases result in you losing your conditional green card. Exceptions can be made in some urgent situations, however. Talk to an attorney for details.
Of course, even if you do file the required application, you must succeed in convincing USCIS that you deserve to convert from conditional to permanent residence. You'll need to carefully fill out the form and attach convincing documentation to prove your case.
With a marriage-based application, your main concern will be showing that you and your spouse are still married and sharing a life, and that the marriage is not a fake or fraud. Focus on supplying documents like shared lease or mortgages, bank accounts, children's birth certificates, and so forth. Don't just send in the same materials that USCIS has seen before. Gather more recent materials. If you're separated, divorced, or your spouse has died, your case isn't hopeless, but you'll need to apply for a waiver. (Get an attorney's help with this.)
If you have been granted an EB-5 visa, you will need to show that you followed through by making the required investment and providing employment to ten or more U.S. workers. For example, you should provide audited financial statements, business receipts, payroll records, bank statements, business licenses, tax returns, and Form I-9s. An attorney can help you with all this.