Unless the couple has been married more than two years at the time of granting the legal permanent resident status, the foreign national is given conditional resident status.
Those who obtain an immigrant visa abroad, but enter the United States after the marriage is more than two years old, enter as Legal Permanent Residents, not Conditional Residents.
If they are still happily married, foreign nationals must apply to remove the conditions on their residency ninety (90) days before the two-year anniversary that their residency was granted. If not, their residence is terminated and they are put in deportation (or removal) proceedings in Court before an Immigration Judge.
There are two exceptions. First, victims of relationship or domestic violence can file a Petition to Remove Conditions on their own, without the signature of the abuser, at any time. This is so regardless of whether the battered spouse is still married to the abuser or not.
The second exception is divorce. After the couple is divorced, the foreign national can file to remove conditions on residency whether the divorce happened two months or twenty months after getting the green card.
The application for Removal of Conditions is deceivingly simple. However, the speed with which Immigration decides these cases depends on the strength of the evidence presented with the application. Blandon Law has had Removal of Conditions approved in less than three months. The average processing time can be more than one year.
Even if a foreign national is in Removal Proceedings, she can still file for Removal of Conditions. In that case, the attorney would represent the foreign national at Immigration Court, present the necessary legal argument and file the application and evidence, which will allow the foreign national to remain in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident.