If one obtained permanent resident status as a result of a marriage that was less than 2-years old at the time, then the USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) issues a 2-year permanent resident card. An individual in such status is commonly referred to as a conditional lawful permanent resident.
In the 90-day window prior to the expiration of the 2-year card, a Form I-751 (“joint”) petition to remove conditions of residence must be filed with the USCIS. The petition process may involve a USCIS interview. Failure to properly file the petition will result in the termination of resident status, and normally the initiation of Immigration Court removal proceedings.
A central issue in the joint-petition adjudication is the continuing viability of the marriage upon which the status was obtained. In the cases where the marriage may have deteriorated, there are waivers available for conditional lawful permanent residents who cannot file the petition jointly with the U.S. citizen spouse or stepparent. In certain instances the waiver application may be filed outside of the 90-day window.
Waivers may be filed based on:
- extreme hardship that would result if the conditional permanent resident were to be deported,
- battery or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse or stepparent, or
- termination of the marriage to the U.S. citizen as a result of divorce, annulment or death.
In considering the foregoing waivers, the USCIS will want to see documentary evidence that the marriage in question was entered into in good faith. I-751 petitions and waivers denied on the merits by USCIS may be renewed in front of the Immigration Court.
If you are separated from your U.S. citizen spouse or otherwise unable to jointly-file the I-751 petition, it is a very good idea to obtain legal representation as soon as possible, in order to start developing your I-751 waiver application. In some cases, a conditional lawful permanent resident separated from his or her U.S. citizen spouse will want to consider filing for divorce, in order to be positioned to file a waiver based on termination of the good-faith marriage. Attorney Cohen will carefully review your individual case and develop a legal strategy to help retain your permanent resident status in the United States.
Information contained in this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with Attorney Cohen on its own will generate an attorney-client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. If you have a question, please call Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen for a consultation: Hallandale Beach (954) 457-1941 or Fort Myers (239) 931-6558
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