Divorce After Conditional Green Card- What Happens Next?

Divorce after conditional green card is not an uncommon situation. Many people in the immigrant community mistakenly believe that if you get a divorce when you have a conditional green card that you will automatically lose the green card and be deported. This is not true. A conditional green card is a two-year green card that is granted to the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident if the marriage is less than two yearson the date that the green card is approved. Although many marriages end before the two-year time frame, many steps can be taken to avoid deportation.

Ninety (90) days before the two-year green card expires, both spouses are supposed to make an application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remove the conditions on the green card, using form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. For some couples, this is not an issue because they are still together and are enjoying married life. They simply complete and sign the application and mail it to USCIS with supporting evidence. Other immigrants may not be so fortunate and may be alone when the time comes to remove the conditions.

Divorce After Conditional Green Card – It is Possible to Get a Divorce Waiver

If your divorce is final at the time that you are submitting your petition, this means that you will be submitting the application with only your signature. Since you no longer have a spouse, you will need a divorce waiver. A divorce waiver is not a separate application. It is a part of the I-751 form and you will be checking the box that states that you are unable to file jointly with your spouse because of the divorce after conditional green card. You will have to prove that you entered the marriage in good faith and intended to live together with your spouse as husband and wife but it did not work out. You will need evidence to show that the marriage was real and a copy of the divorce decree showing that the divorce was finalized.

The divorce waiver also applies to cases where you filed for the divorce but it is not final at the time that you are submitting your I-751 petition. You should include a copy of the filed divorce petition with your application. USCIS usually will issue a   request for evidence (RFE), giving you eighty-seven (87) days to produce the final divorce decree. You will need to get divorced fast. This is where a divorce attorney can help you. Getting a divorce fast is a complicated matter and you could jeopardize your immigration case if you are unfamiliar with divorce court. In some cases, the divorce attorney  can get your divorce finalized in as little as twenty (20) days. 

Abuse Waiver- Available to Conditional Residents Who Are Filing the I-751 Alone

An abuse waiver is another option if you will be filing the petition alone. It is available if you are still married, separated or divorced. If you are still married but your spouse won’t sign the application, you can apply for the abuse waiver. The abuse waiver means that your spouse was cruel to you. Some common examples of what qualifies as “extreme cruelty” include threatening to get you deported, controlling money or food, invading your privacy, taking away your means of transportation and deciding who you can talk to. Issues like domestic violence usually come up in these kinds of cases. You can apply for both the divorce waiver and the abuse waiver if your case meets both requirements.

Hardship Waiver– Apply for this Waiver if it Would  be Difficult for you to Live Outside the US

There is a third type of waiver available to you if you are filing to remove the conditions on your two-year green card without your spouse. This is the hardship waiver. When you apply for the hardship waiver, you are telling USCIS that it would be very difficult for you if you were sent back to your home country. Some examples of extreme hardship include: you have lived in the United States for a long period of time, you do not speak the language of your native country, you have custody of your United States citizen children, you have a medical issue for which you could not obtain proper treatment in your home country, financial difficulties, or you would face persecution. This is one of the more difficult waivers to qualify for and you should get an immigration attorney to help you with this type of case.

Divorce after conditional green card can make you uncertain about your future but with the right help, you can save your immigration case and get approved for a 10-year green card. 

About the Author

Chery Fletcher is a divorce and immigration attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida who has been helping immigrants through the green card and divorce process. She has won hundreds of cases where there was a divorce after conditional green card.

If you would like to get in touch with immigration and divorce attorney,  Cheryl Fletcher , call 561-507-5772 to get a fast consultation or fill in the contact form on the website: http://www. lawyerfletcher.com and we will call you right away.

Sources:

Fletcher Law Blog, “How Long After I Get My Green Card Can I Divorce?” Accessed June 12, 2018.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ”Conditional Permanent Residence,” Accessed June 12, 2018.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ”Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage,” Accessed June 12, 2018.