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Removal of Conditions When No Longer Living With Your Spouse

William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC May 24, 2024

Sad women holding wedding ring after divorceAs an immigrant, maintaining your legal status in the United States can sometimes seem overwhelming, particularly when unforeseen events complicate matters.

This is particularly true if you have conditional residency, but your marriage has broken down. Is it possible to get permanent residency in this scenario? 

The answer is yes. However, if you find yourself in this situation, it would be wise to secure the services of a skilled immigration attorney before applying to remove conditions and obtain permanent residency. 

William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC is here to guide you with clear, supportive advice to secure your legal status and make your immigration journey easier. 

Understanding Conditional Residency

Most people receive conditional residency if their marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident was less than two years old when they became a resident of the United States. They get a temporary conditional green card that allows them to live and work in the United States for two years. At the end of this period, they must apply to remove conditions and obtain a ten-year permanent residency card.  

The conditional green card is non-renewable; if you do not remove conditions and adjust your status 90 days before it expires, you may have to leave the United States. 

The transition from conditional residency to permanent residency is a straightforward process for couples who are still together at the 2-year mark. It requires them to file the petition jointly and provide evidence of ongoing marital union such as joint financial records, property ownership documents, and affidavits from friends or family attesting to the legitimacy of their relationship. 

It gets more complicated if you and your spouse have parted ways before you get your 10-year green card. There are several additional requirements for conditional residents seeking to adjust their status after a divorce, depending on the circumstances in which their marriage ended. 

Removing Conditions Without Your Spouse

Removing conditions on your green card without your spouse involves applying for a waiver, gathering the necessary documentation such as the divorce decree and evidence of a bona fide marriage, and preparing a personal statement. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process: 

  1. File Form I-751, the “Petition to Remove Conditions.” The petition can be filed any time after the divorce is finalized, even if the 90-day period has not begun. 

  1. Apply for a waiver to do away with the joint filing requirement. This waiver allows you to request the removal of conditions without your spouse due to a change in your marital status. 

  1. Provide proof of a good-faith marriage. You need to prove that you married in good faith even if the marriage did not last. Supporting evidence includes but is not limited to joint bank statements, lease agreements, utility bills, insurance policies, children's birth certificates, pictures together, and bills. It can include social media exchanges and testimonials from neighbors or mutual acquaintances attesting to the genuineness of your marital relationship. You could also provide documentation illustrating the reasons behind the marriage breakdown, such as counseling sessions or domestic abuse reports. 

  1. Provide evidence of marriage dissolution. If you're divorced, you must provide the divorce decree or other legal proof that the marriage has been dissolved.  

  1. Prepare a personal statement. This is a detailed explanation of your situation, reasons why the marriage ended, and why you need the waiver. Your statement should describe the evolution of your relationship, the efforts made to sustain the marriage, and the reasons leading to its ultimate dissolution. This narrative will help the USCIS understand your situation better and potentially assess your application favorably. 

Remember, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scrutinizes all applications for possible fraud. You must provide comprehensive evidence to show that the marriage was not entered into solely for immigration benefits.  

Going through this process alone can be daunting; there are so many things that could go wrong and cause your application to be rejected.  

Attorney Quirk Is Here to Help

With a solid background in Municipal and Criminal law, and 18 years handling immigration cases, William Quirk offers honesty, integrity, and a personal commitment to his clients.  

He offers customized advice to address your situation effectively. His legal guidance can significantly increase the odds of getting your application approved, so you can finally build your future as a permanent resident of the United States. 

His dedication, however, goes beyond filing forms and securing waivers. He believes in educating his clients and equipping them with the tools and confidence they need to combat legal challenges, William Quirk ensures you have a detailed strategy in place, so you're prepared every step of the way. 

Your future in the U.S. is worth fighting for. If you’re in Hackensack, New Jersey, Clifton, Paterson, or anywhere in West New York, call Attorney Quirk and schedule a consultation.