There are different methods available for people in California to gain legal status to be in and remain in the country. Some deliver temporary status, as with work or school visas. Others are long-term such as permanent resident status.
One way that people can receive permanent resident status is through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
When people receive permanent resident status through marriage, it is only conditional at first and is only valid for two years. If they do not remove the condition within two years, then they could lose their legal status to remain in the country.
When people must file Form I-751 to keep lawful status
To remove the conditional status, people need to complete and file Form I-751 within 90 days of their conditional status expiring. If people are still married at the time they are filing this petition, their spouse must also fill out the form.
People can also fill this petition out on their own at any time if certain circumstances are present. These circumstances are:
- A person’s spouse dies after the marriage, but before the two years expires
- The marriage was in good faith, but the couple divorced within the two-year period
- The person is the victim of abuse or extreme cruelty from the spouse
- If the person is removed because of failure to file the petition, it would create extreme hardships for the person
Many people in California are legally in the country through temporary visas or temporary permanent resident status. In order to remain in the country after the expiration of their initial basis for being here, they must comply with the requirements of the law.
If people are here as a permanent resident through marriage, it means they need to file a petition called Form I-751 within two years of receiving their temporary Green Card. Experienced attorneys understand the process and information needed to file it and may be able to guide one through the process.