Divorce After Conditional Green Card: Overview

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 the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident receives, if the marriage is less than two years on the date that the application 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 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.

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. You should check 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.

If the divorce is not final when the I-751 petition is due, 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 finalize your divorce quickly. This is where a divorce attorney can help you. Getting a fast divorce is a complicated matter and you could jeopardize your immigration case if you are unfamiliar with divorce court. In some cases, an experienced divorce attorney can finalize your divorce in as little as twenty (20) days.

Abuse Waiver for Conditional Residents

Unfortunately, many conditional residents are abused during their short marriage. This can be physical or emotional abuse. You are eligible for an abuse waiver if 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. An abuse waiver is available whether you are still married, separated or divorced. You can apply for both a divorce waiver and the abuse waiver if your case meets both requirements.

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

A “hardship waiver” 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. When you apply for an 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: (1) living in the United States for a long period of time; (2) not speaking the language of your native country; (3) having custody of your United States citizen children; (4) medical issues for which you could not obtain proper treatment in your home country; (5) financial difficulties; or (6) you would face persecution. It is difficult to obtain an hardship waiver but an experienced immigration attorney can improve your chances. Divorce after conditional green card can make you uncertain about your future but with the right legal help, you can save your immigration case and get approved for a 10-year green card.

Improve Your Chances of Winning Your Case

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I am a U.S. immigration attorney, practicing in all 50 states. I have won hundreds of green card divorce cases. If you would like to get in touch with me, please call 561-507-5772 or click the orange button below to speak with me for 30-minutes. I will take the time to answer all your questions and create the best legal strategy to help you win your case.


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.

Cheryl-Fletcher Divorce After Conditional Green Card- What Happens Next?