Filing removal of conditions application based on waiver of joint filing requirement because of extreme hardship.
Do I have any options in removing the conditional status of my green card if my spouse is refusing to help me in submitting the removal of conditions application?
Yes. As you are aware, you must still submit the application to remove the conditional status of your green card known as the form I-751, but in your case you will be requesting that the joint filing requirement be waived. The question is whether the waiver will be based on a divorce; because of abuse, cruelty or battery/violence or hardship. If you believe that you have little evidence to prove that your relationship with your former spouse was real or bonafide, you can still request a waiver based on the extreme hardship it would cause to you, or a close family member if you are not allowed to stay in the United States. In case you want to consider the waiver based on a divorce, you can read more on the waiver of the joint filing requirement based on a divorce here. You can view our discussion on the waiver based on violence here.
How do I prove extreme hardship?
Unfortunately, there is no precise explanation of extreme hardship that exists. The simplest explanation is that it is hardship that is more than what would be expected from a typical family separation or a permanent departure from the United States. Unless the hardship to you, your parent or child involves a significant medical or psychological issue, you should attempt to demonstrate as many sources of potential hardship as possible.
You can establish that any hardship could be potentially worsened because of your or your family member’s age, health, potential loss of employment or educational opportunities. Hardship can also include the inability to speak the native language from your country of birth; establishing that you have no family ties in your country of birth and explanation of political turmoil in your country.
You will be looking to provide documents like reports, evaluations, and any history of treatment of any medical or psychological issue; articles from publications or experts explaining the lack of employment opportunities in your home country as well as instability or turmoil in your country of birth. Furthermore, you may want to include any financial information indicating how you or your family member will suffer financially if you are removed.
Although historically hardship-based waivers are usually focused on family members such as spouses, parents, and at times the applicant, you should consider providing evidence of hardship effects to any family member including even effects on your local community. Regardless, you should still endeavor to focus hardship more on yourself, parent and child whenever possible. Furthermore, although as much hardship evidence should be provided as possible, you should also keep in mind that the regulations mention that the hardship should be focused on circumstances within the two years of the conditional green card period.
Unlike removal of conditions applications seeking waivers of the joint filing requirements based on a divorce or violence, waivers based on hardship have no requirement in proving that the marriage was entered in good faith. However, it is still recommended that some evidence of a good faith marriage should be provided since there is a discretionary aspect to these cases where an immigration officer can lean towards a denial if the officer suspects a fraudulent marriage.
When should I submit my application to remove conditions on my green card?
The application must still 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 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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