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What If I Get Divorced Before I Get My 10-Year Green Card?

Posted on in Green Cards

What If I Get Divorced Before I Get My 10-Year Green Card?If you married a U.S. citizen and currently hold a conditional two-year green card, you and your spouse must file a joint petition for removal of conditions during the 90 days before your current status expires. If your petition is approved, you will be granted a 10-year green card. But what happens if you get divorced before the conditions are removed? You may still be able to get an unconditional 10-year green card if you meet certain qualifications.

Who Gets a Conditional Two-Year Green Card?

The main paths that lead to a two-year green card include:

  • You marry a U.S. citizen abroad and, while still living abroad, apply for an IR-1 immediate relative/spouse immigration. If your marriage is less than two years old when your visa is granted, you will receive a CR-1 conditional two-year visa. If your two-year wedding anniversary has passed by the time your visa is granted, you will receive an IR-1 visa good for 10 years;
  • You come to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa, get married within the required 90-day period, and apply for adjustment of status to obtain a green card. If your green card is granted before your second wedding anniversary, it will be a conditional two-year green card; or
  • You come to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa or other temporary visa and get married while in the U.S. While still in the U.S., you apply for an adjustment of status to obtain a green card. If your green card is granted before your second wedding anniversary, it will be a conditional two-year green card. 

U.S. immigration authorities established the two-year conditional period to deter marriage-fraud schemes wherein people pay a U.S. citizen to marry them in order to immigrate to the U.S. 

What If My Marriage Ends Before I Get My 10-Year Green Card

Normally, you and your spouse must file form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, in order to obtain your 10-year green card. However, you can file form I-751 on your own if you can show that you entered the marriage in good faith and one of the following events happened:

  • Your spouse died before your second wedding anniversary;
  • Your marriage was dissolved through divorce or annulment;
  • You or your child have been threatened with violence, subjected to violence, forcibly detained, or verbally abused by your spouse; or
  • None of the above is true, but you have separated from your spouse and you can demonstrate that your removal would result in “hardship significantly greater than the hardship encountered by other foreign nationals who are removed from [the U.S.] after an extended stay.”

An example of extreme hardship might be that you have a U.S. citizen child with special medical needs who needs your care and whose needs cannot be met in your home country.  

In order to show that you entered the marriage in good faith, you will need to submit as many documents as you can, such as:

  • Birth certificates of children born during your marriage;
  • Lease agreements for your residence showing both your name and your spouse’s;
  • Bank account records showing that you and your spouse had at least one joint checking or savings account;
  • Joint income tax returns;
  • Bills that show both your name and your spouse’s, such as credit card, telephone, or car loan statements;
  • Sworn statements from at least two people who have known both you and your spouse during your time in the U.S. and who are willing to testify to the validity of your marriage; and
  • Evidence regarding the end of your marriage, such as a divorce decree, death certificate, or an official record documenting abuse.

A Darien Immigration & Divorce Lawyer Can Help

If you have a conditional two-year green card due to marriage, but the marriage has failed, contact an experienced Fairfield County immigration & divorce lawyer to assist you with your petition for your 10-year green card. Call Gonzalez Law Office, LLC, at 203-323-1440. 

Sources:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/K1_Process_V11.pdf

https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/conditional-permanent-residence/remove-conditions-permanent-residence-based-marriage

Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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