Under certain circumstances, a Green Card will be issued that is valid for two years. Conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove the condition in the 90-day timeframe before the Green Card expires, or they will lose permanent resident status. Conditional Green Cards cannot be renewed.
Conditional Green Cards are sometimes granted based on marriage or on immigrants seeking lawful permanent resident status based on entrepreneurial guidelines.
If a marriage between a United States citizen or a permanent resident takes place within two years before the alien spouse is admitted to the United States as a permanent resident, then the permanent resident status is considered conditional. This is to prevent pre-arranged marriages that are entered into for the sole purpose of acquiring immigration benefits.
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The U.S. citizen or permanent resident and his spouse must apply jointly to remove the conditional status placed on the spouse’s residence. Generally, the expiration date of a spouse’s conditional Green Card is also the second anniversary as a conditional permanent resident.
During the two year period of conditional permanence, if the married couple becomes separated or divorced, the conditional spouse may still be able to obtain a permanent Green Card if they are able to show the marriage was entered into in good faith and not with the intention of skirting immigration laws.
The United States also only accepts certain types of marriages related to the application of immigration benefits. In some countries, certain types of marriages are acceptable, but the U.S. may not recognize the following:
Common Law Marriage
Customary Marriage – a marriage performed according to local customs and not according to legal proceedings by local civil authorities.
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Proxy Marriage – a marriage where both parties were not physically present during the ceremony. This is sometimes referred to as a “mail order” marriage.
In instances where a conditional Green Card is granted through investment in the United States, once the entrepreneur is able to show they have met the standards required for investment and job creation, they can apply to have a conditional Green Card adjusted to a lawful permanent status.
This will require them to submit Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur and if an immigrant visa is immediately available, they will be granted permanent status. Families, including spouses and unmarried children under 21 can also be included on the same petition.
There is a limit of 10,000 Green Cards issued to eligible entrepreneurs who meet required thresholds.