Many movies and television shows have made it seem like obtaining a green card through marriage is as easy as getting married and going through an interview. Although there is an interview that both partners will have to go through with an Immigration Officer, there are a few more steps involved in obtaining Legal Permanent Residence status in the United States.
For starters, the spouse applying for permanent residency will initially be granted conditional permanent residence status. The reason your status is conditional is because you still have to prove to the government that your marriage is real and that you entered in in good faith. This is because some people see marriage as a way to avoid immigration laws in the United States and an easy way to become a legal permanent resident of the United States.
To remove the conditional status on your permanent residence, you must complete all the proper forms and meet the eligibility criteria. The criteria involve, staying married to the same US Citizen or Legal Permanent Residence for two years. If you have children, you may include them in your application if they also meet the requirements.
If you are no longer married to the US Citizen or Legal Permanent Residence, you may still apply to remove your conditional status if the following incidents occurred: if your marriage was terminated due to the death of your spouse, you may still be eligible so long as you initially entered the marriage in good faith. You may also apply if you initially entered the marriage in good faith, however for whatever reason the marriage ended in divorce of annulment. Finally, you may also be eligible to have your conditional status removed if you or your children were the victims of domestic abuse or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.
If you are still married to the same spouse, you and your spouse have to apply together to have your conditional status removed. You may apply to have your conditional status removed 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. Keep in mind, your Green Card usually expires about the time of your 2nd year anniversary. If you do not apply to remove the conditions placed on your status, you run the risk of not only losing your conditional resident status but also possibly being removed from the country.
If you are no longer married to your spouse or you or your children were victims of domestic abuse, you can apply to have the joint filing requirement waived. If your marriage has ended because of death, divorce or annulment, or if you or your children are the victims of domestic abuse, you and your children may apply to have the conditional status removed at any time after you become a condition resident, but before your status expires. You will have to prove that removal from the United States would cause you extreme hardship.
It is advisable to seek legal guidance from our office today as we strive to help guide you with your specific case.
Attorney Ramona Kennedy cares about your case and will fight for you.