Conditional residency is granted to people who obtained their residency through marriage, and at the time the residency was approved, the marriage was less than two years old. This process is meant to prevent immigration marriage fraud. After the two year conditional residency period, the couple must apply to ‘remove the conditions’ after which the resident will be granted a ten-year green card.
The removal of conditions is accomplished by filing Form I-751 and providing evidence of the ongoing relationship. One of the requirements of the I-751 is that it be filed jointly by the green card holder and their spouse.
The requirement for joint filing may be waived in the following situations:
- Your spouse is deceased: If your spouse has died, you can file the I-751 on your own. You should submit a copy of the death certificate and evidence of your bona fide marriage from the time your green card was issued until the time your spouse passed away.
- Divorce: If your marriage was entered into in good faith, but the marriage ended in divorce or annulment, you may qualify for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You should submit a copy of your divorce decree along with evidence that your marriage was bona fide. You only need to submit evidence from the past two years; do not include evidence that was submitted with the original I-130.
- Abuse: You may qualify for a waiver under this ground if:
- The marriage was entered into in good faith, but your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse was abusive towards you.
- Your parent entered the marriage in good faith, but your US citizen or lawful permanent resident step-parent was abusive to you.
- Your conditional resident parent was abusive towards you.
- In all cases, you should submit evidence of the abuse. Evidence may include an affidavit written by you, police reports, orders of protection, court records, medical records, school records or reports, or photographs of injuries. You can also submit evidence of any legal steps that you have taken to end the abusive relationship. If you are divorced, you should submit a copy of your divorce decree, particularly if it denotes that your marriage was terminated on the grounds of physical or emotional abuse.
- Extreme Hardship: Lastly, you may qualify for a waiver of the joint filing requirement if the termination of your residency and your removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship to you, your children, or your new spouse.
- To qualify under extreme hardship, you will have to prove that your removal/denial would result in significantly more hardship than experienced by other people after an extended stay in the United States.
- The evidence must pertain to the period of your conditional residency.
- Evidence may include the following: proof of custody of your U.S citizen children and that relocation would be hard on them, that it would be difficult for you to find work outside of the United States, medical conditions, that you or your children would be discriminated against outside of the United States, that you cannot locate your spouse, or that you’d like to divorce but are unable to due to religious or cultural reasons.
- You can also highlight any relevant political or economic changes that have occurred in your country of origin.
- You should also submit evidence that your marriage was bona fide.
You can apply for as many waivers as are applicable to your situation, all through Form I-751.
If you would like information about removing your conditions, applying for a waiver of the joint filing requirement, or removing your conditions after your green card has expired, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in I-751 waivers and family-based immigration cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!