If you are a foreign spouse who applied for a green card through marriage to a US citizen in which the marriage occurred within two years of admission for adjustment of status, what you received is 2-year conditional green card. In order to remove conditions on your permanent residency to achieve the “unconditional” rights of a lawful permanent resident, you need to file a joint I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency within 90 days of the green card expiration date. Dependent children who are admitted as conditional residents based on your marriage to a US citizen will have to follow requirements similar to you to remove their own conditional status.
Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement
If you are still lawfully married to your US citizen spouse through whom you obtained the lawful permanent resident status, you should file the I-751 Petition to Removel Conditions on Permanent Residency jointly. But if the marriage has ended due to the death of your citizen spouse, divorce, or annulment, then you must seek a waiver of the I-751 joint filing requirement. You can request that the joint filing requirement be waived, based on any of four grounds:
- The marriage was entered into in good faith, but the spouse has died;
- The marriage was entered into in good faith, but the marriage has been terminated by divorce or annulment;
- The marriage was entered into in good faith, but the conditional resident has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the citizen spouse; or
- Termination of permanent residency and deportation would result in extreme hardship.
When filing the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency, the conditional resident is required to submit evidence to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith. You should submit documents including:
- Mortgage contract or lease showing joint ownership or joint occupancy of a common residence;
- Financial records showing joint ownership of assets and/or responsibility for liabilities;
- Birth certificates of children born to the marriage;
- Affidavits from third parties having knowledge of the marriage;
- Other pertinent documentation establishing that the marriage is legitimate.
Divorce in the Process
If you are not yet divorced but are separated from your US citizen spouse and your 2-year green card is about to expire, USCIS recently changed the policy to allow you to file either a joint petition or a waiver of the joint filing post separation but prior to divorce.
If you file a joint petition post separation but prior to the divorce being finalized, you will receive a Request for Evidence Notice from the USCIS asking for the divorce decree. You should then submit the divorce decree and request that the case be converted to a waiver case in order to avoid the need to refile the case as a waiver. If you file a waiver after separation but prior to final divorce, you then need to submit the divorce decree upon receipt of the RFE from the USCIS. If the divorce is not finalized in time to respond to the RFE, your permanent resident status will be revoked and you may be placed in removal proceedings.
Consultations with our firm are free. So if you have any questions at all with regards to I-751 cases, feel free to call, email, or even visit our firm.
Should you eventually wish to retain our firm, we are experienced in preparing, filing, and accompanying clients in I-751 cases. Our firm has had clients all over the United States, and we have accompanied them in interviews as well.
Our firm will fill out ALL the forms for you and will simply have you sign in the end. You will be given a list of all documents needed (copy of marriage certificate, joint lease, joint tax returns, joint bank statements, copy of green card etc.), and we will put together the entire application for filing with the immigration service.
For cases that have a waiver of the joint filing requirement, to us the most important document is the affidavit of the applicant. We shall work with you to make sure your affidavit is as detailed as possible. Where exactly did you live after you got your green card? When exactly did you separate? Why? Enumerate all trips you had together after you got your green card? Enumerate any parties or special events and holiday occasions you went to after you got your green card? Do you know anyone present in those parties, events, or trips who can provide affidavits? Do you still have tickets, or booking reservations for this or that trip? Etc.
We will also send you a copy of the application, and you will be notified upon our receipt of the receipt notice, fingerprint and biometrics appointment, and interview notice.
Our firm will also prepare you for the interview, if one is scheduled. As we have also done in the past, our firm also can accompany you at the interview, regardless of where you are located in the United States. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
If you have any questions, please fill out the free consultation form below, and we will respond as soon as possible privately.