If you obtained your U.S. residence through a recent marriage your conditional green card is only valid for two years. To change your conditional green card for a permanent one you will have to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, 90 days before the two year anniversary of the date your conditional card was issued. In most cases this petition is filed jointly with your spouse, but under certain circumstances you will have to petition for the removal of you conditions on your own.
During the two years that you will have to wait for your conditional status many things can happen to a marriage. Divorce, death, domestic violence, and extreme hardship are all recognized reasons that allow you to file the I-751 without your spouse’s signature.
If you are filing the I-751 without your spouse due to a divorce, it is imperative that this divorce must be finalized. It is extremely important that you file for divorce if your marriage has deteriorated beyond the point of reconciliation, because you do not know how long it will take for your divorce to be granted in your jurisdiction. In addition to a judgement of divorce, you will have to prove that the marriage was entered in good faith, reason why is of outmost importance that the preparation of your petitions for a green card are prepared by an expert immigration attorney who will protect you in case that the relationship does end before you are able to get your permanent green card.
Battery or Extreme Cruelty (Domestic Violence)
If you have been a victim of any act or threatened act of violence by your United States Citizen Spouse you may be able to file for your Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence without a divorce. Acts of violence include, but are not limited to exploitation, forced prostitution, psychological or physical abuse, forceful detention, control and rape. It is extremely important that you document your good faith marriage and the abuse you endured. You will have to gather police reports, medical reports, witness statements, psychological evaluations, etc. Under this particular ground, USCIS is prohibited from informing the abusive spouse about your allegations in the application, but we advise you to speak with an immigration attorney about how to prove the domestic violence that usually happens in the intimacy of your home. There are ways to do it that required the expertise of an experience immigration attorney.
Extreme Hardship, the last category that may allow a person to remove the temporary conditions in a green card, is one of the hardest to prove. The relationship has to be prove, and reasons why USCIS should not deport you, but instead grant you a permanent green card. Although you do need to prove your good faith marriage, you will also need to show that there are other powerful reasons for the applicant to stay in the US; reasons that developed in the 2 years of the relationship that will extremely affect the applicant. You will certainly need an expert immigration attorney to delve into this exception.
It is extremely important under any of these grounds that you have the supporting documentation to support your eligibility for approval. Furthermore, it is important to note that if you qualify under any of the grounds you do not have to wait the two years to remove your conditions of residence.
At Mercedes Cano we are here to help you. To have your case reviewed by our office, please contact us at 718-505-8506 or please fill out our Contact Form.