Updated Guidance on Family-Based Conditional Permanent Residence

On December 12, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual relating to family-based conditional permanent residents (CPRs). The USCIS added consolidated guidance to the policy manual, which includes updated direction on waivers based on battery or extreme cruelty, and clarification regarding a CPR’s ability to apply for adjustment of status on a new basis after failing to timely apply for removal of conditions.

Overview of Conditional Permanent Residency in Family-Based Cases

A foreign national who receives permanent resident status based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen obtains that status on a conditional basis if the marriage has existed for less than two years at the time of green card approval. CPR status is valid for two years. In order to remove the conditions on residency and obtain unconditional permanent resident status, the foreign national spouse typically must file form I-751, petition to remove conditions on residence, within the ninety-day period immediately prior to the end of the second year of CPR status. More details on how to remove conditions are available in the two-part MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Removing Conditions on Marriage-Based GCs Part 1 and Part 2.

Highlights of the Policy Update

The update consolidates and revises prior guidance regarding eligibility, filing, and adjudication of form I-751, and supersedes related guidance from the Adjudicator’s Field Manual for applications filed on or after December 12, 2023. The update also provides additional details on the steps necessary for changing the basis of an I-751 filing, including in cases involving waivers based on battery or extreme cruelty.

Additionally, the new guidance clarifies that, although an individual maintaining CPR status generally cannot file a new adjustment of status application based on another basis (e.g., employment), an individual who loses CPR status as a result of failing to timely file an I-751 can apply for adjustment of status on a different basis upon the conclusion of the two-year CPR period. This applies regardless of whether the USCIS issues a notice of termination of CPR status to the individual before or after the new adjustment of status application is filed.


I-751 removal-of-conditions cases can be complex, particularly for couples with marital difficulties or for those involving unusual circumstances. The recent USCIS policy manual updates provide much needed guidance for I-751 filings, and those in need of specific advice about these filings are encouraged to consult with a qualified U.S. immigration attorney.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.