In 1986 Congress passed the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendment Act (IMFA). This created a status called “conditional residence.” Congress was convinced that many people married United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents only to get immigration status.


Thus, the purpose behind the IMFA was to guarantee that only people who made “real” marriages would be able to obtain immigration benefits.

What is Conditional Permanent Residency?

Conditional permanent residency is the two year “probationary period” before which a person immigrates through a spouse may become or apply for lawful permanent resident status. While conditional residents enjoy most of the benefits that lawful permanent residents do, such as working and traveling in and out of the United States, conditional residents may have their status revoked or terminated and lose their status or be deported if they fail to:

* File within 90 days of the end of the two-year period, a joint petition to remove conditions; or
* File a waiver of the joint petition requirement if their marriage to the petitioner spouse has ended or where the petitioner spouse refuses to sign the joint petition;

Moreover, under certain circumstances USCIS may terminate conditional residency during the two-year period.

Who Is a Conditional Permit Resident?

* Anyone who immigrates:
* Through their spouse AND
* Enters the United States within two years of the date that they marry.

This also applies to children who are the derivative beneficiaries of a visa and enter or adjust within the United States with their conditional resident parent.

On occasion USCIS has incorrectly designated immigrating spouses as conditional residents based solely on the fact that they were admitted into the United States as spouses of US citizens or lawful permanent residents despite the fact that the entry occurred well after two years of marriage. If this happens to you, bring it to the attention of USCIS immediately so that it may be corrected.

What a Conditional Resident Should Know

* If you are a conditional resident, is important that you know the following:
* Make sure you know when you’re filing deadline is;
* Begin clicking documents now that you can use in two years to show that you have a bona fide marriage;
* As the conditional resident you are not dependent on your spouse to remove the conditions of residence; and
* Should you remain married to the US citizen, you are eligible to naturalize after three years of lawful permanent resident status instead of the traditional five years.