Filing the removal of conditions application based on the waiver of the joint filing requirement because of a divorce

By October 1, 2020Family Immigration
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Will I lose my green card if my green card was granted for two years because I was married to my US citizen spouse for 1 year and we are now getting divorced?

No, not necessarily. You can and must submit the application to remove the conditional status of your green card known as form I-751, but in your case you will be requesting that the joint filing requirement with your former spouse be waived based on a divorce.

What do I need to submit with my application to remove conditions?

Just as if you were still married to your spouse, you still need to submit evidence that you entered the marriage in good faith and not to circumvent immigration laws to acquire the green card. You must also submit a copy of the court divorce decree or judgement and submit a declaration explaining the circumstances that led to the breakdown of the relationship.

What evidence can prove that we entered into the marriage in good faith?

Any documentation showing that you shared a common residence and/or lived as a couple since the date of your marriage to the present date. Essentially, the same type of documentation you provided in proving your relationship when you initially applied for the green card. Such documents could include lease agreements; joint bank statements; joint credit card statements or loan statements; joint tax returns and insurance policies. If you had a child with your former spouse, then the child’s birth certificate should be submitted. Also submit any other documentation showing the relationship was real including affidavits from friends and family. However, keep in mind that the best evidence other than a child’s birth certificate is any documentation showing you shared a common residence and/or that you commingled finances.

When should I submit my application to remove conditions on my green card?

The application must be filed during the 90-day period before expiration of your conditional green card. Although you should avoid filing after this period,  it is possible to file the application after the 90-day period, but keep in mind that filing after the 90 period may place you at risk of being placed in removal proceedings.

What if by the time my 90-period commences, I still don’t have my divorce judgment?

You can still submit the I-751 with evidence that divorce proceedings have commenced. USCIS at some point will issue a request for evidence requiring you to submit the divorce decree. In most cases, a divorce decree or judgment is usually obtained by the time the request for evidence is issued. If not, then USCIS typically gives you 87 days to submit the divorce. You can also request additional time which will usually be granted in most cases if the immigration service is convinced that the divorce proceedings is pending.   

What happens if my green card expires while my removal of conditions application is pending?

You will be receiving a receipt confirming the filing of the application and payment of the filing fee which will serve as evidence along with your expiring card of your green card status being extended for a period of 18 months.

What if my removal of conditions application is still pending after the initial 18-month extension period?

At that point you will need to call the immigration service to schedule an appointment to have an immigration officer stamp your current passport with a stamp that shows that you are in current valid green card status. Note that subsequence extensions are at the discretion of the officer meaning that you may have to request more than one extension while your application is pending.

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