One of the most common abuses of the U.S. Immigration system is using marriage to obtain permanent residence. You can imagine how delicate it can be for immigration agents to examine whether a newly married couple has married for genuine reasons or if they are misusing this path to immigration. This is why the government placed conditions on your status when you entered the U.S. on a marriage-based green card.
Your marriage to a U.S. citizen not only marked the beginning of a new life as a spouse, but it was also the basis of your conditional resident status in this country. Since the government has legally admitted you as a conditional resident, your next step is to remove the conditions from your status.
A nice anniversary gift
This two-year conditional period is built into the marriage-based immigration program to detect fraud. By limiting you to conditional residence, the government provides time for you to prove that you married in good faith. If you are approaching your two-year anniversary, you are likely eager to shed your provisional status and become a permanent resident. You are eligible for this change if you meet any of these requirements:
- You and your spouse are still married after two years.
- You are a minor who is not eligible for inclusion in your parents’ application for residency.
- You married in good faith, but your spouse died before your two-year anniversary.
- The marriage ended in divorce or annulment even though you entered it in good faith.
- Your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse was abusive or created hardships for you or your children.
If you are unable to apply with your spouse because of hardship, abuse or the death of your spouse, you may be able to apply for a waiver of the requirement to petition jointly. Applying for waivers is complicated and may require proof of eligibility. For example, you may have to produce evidence that your spouse was abusive, such as police reports, medical reports or witness accounts.
Ninety days before the expiration of your conditional residence, you and your spouse should apply for removal of the conditions on your residency status. Your green card will expire on your second anniversary, so missing this deadline could lead to serious consequences. You would be wise to take the appropriate steps at the right time to avoid the immediate termination of your residence and the risk of initiating the removal proceedings against you.