Permanent Residence through Marriage

One of the most common areas of family immigration law involves the marriage of a foreign national to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Often, a foreign national on a temporary visa who intended to stay for only a short period of time (to comple an education for example) meets a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, falls in love, and decides to get married. The original intent not to stay permanently changes as the foreign national wishes to remain with his or her loved one. The foreign national can receive permanent residence through such a marriage even if the foreign national has overstayed a visa or otherwise violated their status. This is good news for the couple, but it is also an easy way for foreign nationals to attempt to circumvent the immigration rules and regulations in place, so the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) puts a lot of effort into preventing fraudulent marriages. One of the ways they do this is through conditional resident status.

If you have are in the US as a nonimmigrant, have violated or overstayed your status, and are now married to a US Citizen, the law allows you to obtain permanent residence through your US Citizen Spouse. Contact us for a consultation. Having an experienced immigration lawyer on your side will certainly make sure that your immigration process is handled competently and should alleviate any apprehension in going through this process. We have the experience to represent your interest. Contact us today.

Conditional Resident Status

If the couple has been married for less than two years when the foreign national is granted permanent residence, the permanent resident status will be considered conditional. The easiest way to get around this, of course, is to simply wait two years before applying for permanent residence, but this is not necessary, as a competent immigration attorney can help you apply for permanent residence and have those conditions removed at the appropriate time. If the couple does not apply to remove the conditions within the 90 days prior to the second anniversary of receiving the conditional permanent residence, the foreign national’s resident status can be revoked and the foreign national can be placed into removal (deportation) proceedings.

In addition to the many rules and forms that are involved in immigration law, there are strict deadlines that must be met. After a couple of years of marriage and nearly two more years of conditional resident status, people sometimes forget about the 90 day window that they have been given until they receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing for their removal proceedings. This can be a very stressful time. It is possible to prove “good cause” for missing the deadline, but it is up to the immigration officer’s discretion as to whether or not the excuse is acceptable. Having an immigration attorney who can prevent this from happening is best, but even if a couple has waited until this point, it is essential to speak with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you prove good cause and represent you at the hearing.

Removing the Conditions

The USCIS wants to see proof that a marriage is not being entered into for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws, so there is a two year waiting period. This two year mark is the anniversary of receiving conditional permanent residence, not the anniversary of the marriage. After the two years, if the couple is still married, they apply together for a Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence (Form I-751) so that the status becomes that of permanent residence. Along with the petition, the couple will submit evidence of the relationship. The immigration attorney will know exactly which types of evidence are most helpful and persuasive.

Contact Us

Unfortunately, even marriages entered into in good faith may be ended early through death or divorce. These circumstances are discussed in more detail in another article, but are a strong reminder of the importance of having an immigration attorney who understands the many complexities of immigration law. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are competent and experienced immigration attorneys who can answer your questions and guide you through this process. If you have a question about your conditional residence status, or any other immigration matter, please contact one of our attorneys today who will explain your rights and options in a professional and confidential manner.

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