Changing the conditional green card to a permanent one.

I have a conditional green card issued in
July 8, 2010
Based on marriage to a U.S citizen, which will be expired in
July 8 2012.
After I took it, I left U.S in
July 21, 2010

We came back to our country because I still have to finish my contract and my wife has to finish college. Now I finished my contract and I'm welling to come back to Seattle in U.S in
Jan 20 2011
But my wife will not finish college until July 2012. That means I’m going to leave her and I will go live in the US for at least one and a half year alone.
Will this affect my immigration status when it comes to change the conditional green card to a permanent one? What are the terms and conditions that we should follow in our situation? And what is the best time for applying for a US citizenship?

mohamad alamin


Phil's picture

Abandonment of Residency and Evidence for I-751 Case

Hi thanks for posting your question. There are two potential issues with your case.

First of all since you left the U.S. so quickly after you obtained your residency it is possible that the immigration officials could take the position that you never established your residency in the U.S. and therefore lost your residency. This could be an issue upon your planned return to the U.S. this month. I once represented a Chinese national in a removal proceeding who was a lawful permanent resident. He received his residency and then immediately left for China. He returned to the U.S. often to visit but never actually lived in the U.S. The USCIS determined that he was no longer a permanent resident because he never established his residency. In your case you have not been gone from the U.S. for very long so the only reason it might be an issue in your case is because you left the U.S. almost immediately after you obtained your residency.

The other issue is the one you raised which relates to your application to remove the conditions on your residency which you will have to file in the 90 day period before your conditional green card expires in July 2012. The I-751 application process requires you to establish that you and your wife entered the marriage in good faith and not for immigration purposes. While it is not uncommon for couples, especially international couples to live separately for extended periods of time, any time a couple who files an I-1751 is not living together it raises a red flag. In order to satisfy the USCIS adjudicator you will have to have a well-documented and understandable explanation as to why you are living apart. You should also have significant other evidence that you entered the marriage in good faith. Here is a short article I wrote about planning ahead and gather documentation for the I-751 petition.

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