Deciding to marry is a difficult and life changing decision. At the time of our marriage, we hope that it is forever. However, some marriages inevitably fail and ultimately end in divorce. Divorce is always a stressful and hard time and even more so when one’s immigration status in the U.S. depends on the relationship to the ex-spouse.
If you marry a Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) or a United States Citizen (“USC”) and you have been married for less than two years at the time of your application, you will receive a Conditional Resident Card. The Applicant must remain married for the following two years and will be eligible to remove the conditions on the card 90 days prior to the two year mark. In order to remove the conditions if the Applicant is no longer with the ex-spouse, the Applicant must prove that the marriage was bona fide and not entered into with the intention of obtaining an immigrant benefit. Therefore, divorcing before removing the conditions of a Conditional Resident Card will likely cause some complex legal issues.
Luckily, the Applicant may file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, as a waiver to the requirement of “Jointly Filing” with your spouse. The Applicant must prove that the marriage, prior to the divorce, was bona fide (real and genuine) and was not entered into to obtain an immigration benefit. This may be demonstrated by submitting sufficient and ample proof that the marriage was in good faith and the time it occurred. Applicants must include joint financial records, proof that you both lived together, travel itineraries, marriage counseling records, and/or evidence of children together amongst many other documents. Applicants must also provide a detailed written statement explaining why the marriage ended.
If the divorce has not been finalized at the time the petition to remove conditions is filed, USCIS will typically provide Applicants with a 24 month extension. Subsequently, USCIS will require Applicants to submit a final decree of divorce or final judgment.
Having an immigration attorney throughout this process will truly make a difference. Contact us Today!
Laura Quintero & Isabella Fortich