It’s not uncommon for foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens and to submit to the green card process through USCIS. When the marriage itself is less than two years in duration the foreign national is typically granted a conditional green card status rather than a permanent green card. There is a waiting period for the permanent green card in order to allow immigration officials to investigate the validity and legitimacy of the marriage.
To remove the conditions on the marriage-based green card, you must file a USCIS form I-751 in the 90 day period before the expiration of the conditional green card. Form I-751 is always filed with additional proof that the marriage is legitimate. (affidavits from friends and family attesting to the legitimacy of the marriage, proof of cohabitation such as bills and leases and proof of joint property and assets).
What Happens to Your Green Card if You Get Divorced Before 2 Years Has Passed?
Generally the Form I-751 must be filed jointly by the conditional permanent resident and U.S. citizen spouse. When the couple separates or gets a divorce or annulment around the time the I-751 must be filed, the conditional permanent resident can request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. This waiver is known as the good faith waiver, where the marriage was entered into in good faith but was validly terminated through divorce or annulment. If a divorce or annulment has occurred, a good faith waiver must be accompanied by supporting documentation, including the divorce decree or other document terminating or annulling the marriage and evidence of an actual marital relationship to prove the marriage was legitimate.
Are there any other Options to Keep My Conditional Green Card if I’m heading towards a divorce?
Other waivers of the joint filing requirement may be available where a foreign national can show that removal would cause extreme hardship or where the person can show that they entered the marriage in good faith and one of the following situations arose: (1) the U.S. citizen spouse subsequently died or (2) the foreign national was subject to battery and/or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse.
All waivers of the I-751 joint filing requirement are discretionary and require a significant amount of supporting documentation.