A lawful permanent resident is given the privilege of living and working in the U.S. permanently. The permanent residence status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence. The permanent resident status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the U.S. Under normal circumstances, the conditional resident and his/her spouse should apply together to remove the conditions on the residence during the 90 days before their second anniversary as a conditional resident. (Form I-751, petition to remove the condition on residence) However, there are circumstances under which the joint application for removal of condition becomes difficult or impossible. The following are some of the cases;
- The conditional resident is a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered in good faith.
- The conditional resident entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment.
- The termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship to the conditional resident.
If the conditional resident is unable to apply with his/her spouse to remove the conditions on his/her residence, he/she may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. To apply for waiver of requirement to file joint petition for removal of conditions, the applicant must prove;
- He/she entered into marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and he/she was not at fault in failing to file a timely petition.
- The deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship.
Usually, the evidence may include:
- Documentation showing joint ownership of property
- Lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence
- Documentation showing commingling of financial resources
- Birth certificates of children born to marriage
We have plenty of experiences handling these cases. Recently, we helped one client obtained the waiver despite the lacking of substantial evidences described above. Our client married a U.S. citizen in foreign country, and came to U.S. under conditional permanent resident status. The marriage lasted less than one year. Our client came to our office seeking for help one day before his conditional residency expired. Because his wife controlled all the financial resources and documents they had during the marriage, he was unable to provide any substantial evidence except for a joint tax return. Nevertheless, the case was finally approved due to our strong argument of good faith marriage and extreme hardship of possible deportation.
Although general rules apply to all cases, individual consideration is usually given to special case depends on whether or not the applicant could convince the judge of his credibility and story. A good, smart lawyer is the one who can assist you out of a seemingly legal tangle. If you have any questions regarding your immigration status, please contact us.