Form I-551 is issued with conditions to foreign citizens who marry a U.S. citizen. A conditional Form I-551 is also referred to as a Conditional Green Card. The foreign spouse must apply to have the conditions removed after 2 years of marriage. A conditional Green Card is also issued to foreign investors for the first two years. A permanent Form I-551 is issued to certain investors and immediate relatives and must be renewed every 10 year.
A person holding a valid Form I-551 will always have to keep his or her original passport. A valid Green Card gives the bearer the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Once a person with Form I-551 applies for U.S. citizenship, he or she has to give up their Form I-551. It is not possible to have both U.S. citizenship and a Green Card. At this point the U.S. citizen is considered a dual citizen by holding two passports.
Individuals with Form I-551 may be deported for several reasons. Only U.S. citizens cannot be deported. Green Card holders committing serious crimes or residing outside the United States for too long will loose their Form I551 privileges. Green Card holders should file taxes as residents (not “non-residents”) and make sure they continue their residence in the United States. A person may hold Form I-551 their whole life and not become U.S. citizens.