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If you obtained a Green card through your marriage to a U.S. citizen less than 2 years ago, you might get conditional resident status instead of permanent resident status. Conditional resident status lasts 2 years, and the conditional resident card is good for only 2 years. A Permanent resident card is good for 10 years then has to be renewed.

If you have conditional resident status and want to petition to remove the conditions on your resident status, you will to submit a joint petition with your spouse during the 90 day period before the expiration date on your conditional resident card. However, if your spouse is abusive or emotionally cruel, or if the marriage has ended, you can file Form I-751 without your spouse at any time before the card expires.


If you are filing the I-751 by yourself because of domestic violence or emotional cruelty, you must show:

  • You are legally married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Abuse or extreme mental cruelty by your spouse
  • Proof that the marriage was in “good faith.” This means you have to show that you did not get married just to get immigration status.

Even if you are divorced, you can still file Form I-751. If the abuse was before the divorce, it is helpful to explain that you were abused. Give proof of the abuse and the divorce to immigration.
If you were the victim of extreme abuse or cruelty by your spouse, and you find out your spouse was married to another person at the same time as you, you can file the I-751 application.

I-751 Self Petitioning Benefits 

  • Permanent resident status
  • The opportunity to apply for citizenship after 3 years of residency
  • The opportunity to petition for other family members living abroad