If you obtained your permanent residence status, or “green card,” through a marriage to a US citizen or green card holder, and that marriage was less than two years old at the time of your application, then your immigration status is actually not yet permanent. You qualify as a conditional permanent resident.
The conditions of your permanent residence stipulate that your green card will only last for two years, after which your legal status in the US will expire if you do not take the necessary action. If you fail to do so, you will be served with a Notice To Appear (NTA) in immigration court where removal proceedings will likely begin against you to begin the process of deportation.
Fortunately, you can apply to have the conditions of your permanent residence removed with form I-751. You must submit the application for the removal of conditions in the 90 days before your green card expires. There are five options for filing your I-751 and having your conditions removed: File jointly with your spouse – this is the best option as there are stricter conditions for the court to deny your application. If you are still with your spouse and they are willing, you should file your I-751 jointly. You will, however, need to prove that your marriage was entered into in good faith, meaning you did not get married simply to gain a green card. File based on a terminated marriage – if the marriage that allowed you to receive your conditional permanent residency has ended, you can still file your I-751 based on receiving a waiver for filing jointly. You must prove that you entered into the marriage in good faith and that you intended your marriage to be bona fide. You must also show that the marriage has officially ended and that it was not your fault that you could not file jointly. File based on battery or extreme cruelty – you can waive the joint filing requirement and file your I-751 if you or your children the victims of battery or extreme cruelty by your spouse. You must still prove that it was a good faith marriage and that the abuse occurred during your marriage. File based on extreme hardship – you may also receive a waiver from filing your I-751 jointly if you can prove that your deportation would result in extreme hardship. There is no good faith requirement for this waiver, and the law does not specify hardship to whom. There are a number of ways an experienced immigration lawyer like Otis Landerholm can help you demonstrate the hardship requirement. File based on death of your spouse – if your spouse has died, you may also receive a waiver from the joint filing requirement for the I-751. You must provide a death certificate and proof that your marriage was bona fide, but you do not have to demonstrate any hardship. How to prove “Good Faith?” The most common methods of filing your I-751 require you to prove that your marriage was a good faith marriage. There are numerous creative ways you can prove this, including having children, joint mortgage or lease showing you live or lived together, proof of joint assets, joint tax returns, phone records, emails, Skype records, wedding announcements and photographs, and much more. You will also have to provide affidavits from at least two friends who are familiar with your relationships. For more information on filing form I-751, help with the application process and evidence gathering process, or other immigration issues, please contact Landerholm Immigration and let us fight for your American Dream!