If you are the holder of a conditional green card and are getting divorced, you may understandably be concerned about your permanent residency status.
Conditional green cards (formally known as "permanent resident status on a conditional basis") are issued to non-citizens who have been married to U.S. citizens for less than two years. A significant distinction between a conditional green card and a regular green card: this conditional green card expires after only two years, as opposed to 10 years..
Typically, the citizen and his or her spouse must jointly petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to convert a conditional green into a 10-year green card. That can become complicated, however, if the couple is divorcing or has gotten a divorce.
If your divorce is not yet finalized, you may ask your spouse to submit the petition to remove the conditions of residence.
However, if your spouse refuses, or if your divorce has already been finalized, then you will have to apply for a waiver:
"You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements if: Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship; [y]ou entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition, [or] [y]ou entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you or your child were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition."
Requesting a waiver has serious legal consequences, and you may be required to submit to an interview before your application is approved. It is important to get the advice and guidance of an experienced immigration attorney to help ensure that your waiver request is granted.
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