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Divorce Before Removing Conditions on Your Marriage-Based Green Card


Divorce is a challenging life event under any circumstances, but it can become even more complex when it intersects with immigration processes. For individuals navigating a divorce before or while removing conditions on their marriage-based green card, the emotional and logistical challenges can feel overwhelming. In this blog post, we'll explore some key considerations and steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.

  1. Understanding Conditional Permanent Residence: - When a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and the marriage is less than two years old when the green card is approved, the green card is initially granted on a conditional basis for two years. - To remove these conditions and obtain a permanent green card, the couple must jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days before the expiration of the two years of the conditional green card. - Upon successfully removing conditions, the conditional resident will receive a 10-year green card instead of the initial 2-year green card. This means that the individual no longer has to worry about the conditional aspect of their residency status.

  2. Implications of Divorce on Conditional Residence: - The process becomes more complicated if the couple divorces before the conditions are removed. - The conditional resident may still be eligible to remove conditions on their green card without the spouse if they can prove the marriage was entered into in good faith, but the burden of proof becomes heavier.

  3. Legal Assistance and Documentation: - It's crucial to seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney who can navigate the complexities of divorce and immigration law. - Documentation proving the bona fides of the marriage becomes paramount. This may include joint bank accounts, lease agreements, utility bills, photos, and affidavits from friends and family attesting to the legitimacy of the relationship.

  4. Options for Divorced Conditional Residents: - If the divorce is finalized before filing the joint petition, the conditional resident can file Form I-751 with a request for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. - Acceptable reasons for waiving the joint filing requirement include divorce, abuse or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse, or the death of the U.S. citizen spouse. - The waiver application should include a detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding the divorce and any supporting evidence.

  5. Navigating Emotional Challenges: - Divorce is emotionally taxing, and when combined with immigration concerns, it can feel overwhelming. It's essential to prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals. - Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step toward navigating this challenging time with resilience.

Facing a divorce while in the process of removing conditions on your marriage-based green card can be daunting, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. By seeking guidance from knowledgeable professionals, gathering thorough documentation, and prioritizing self-care, you can navigate this challenging chapter of your life with determination and resilience. Remember, challenges are temporary, but your strength and resolve endure.

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