Removal of Condition After or During Divorce or Separation

  • $1200 + Immigration Fee

Removal of Conditions for individuals unable to file jointly due to divorce or separation.


The Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence represents a crucial juncture for conditional permanent residents who gained their status through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This form is essential for those whose marriage was less than two years old at the time of obtaining their green card, rendering their status "conditional." Removal of these conditions is mandatory to secure full permanent residency. However, the process becomes notably more complex when the parties are divorced or going through a divorce and separation. This article will explore the intricacies of filing the I-751 under these circumstances.

Purpose of the Form in the Context of Divorce or Separation

The primary aim of the I-751 form is to demonstrate to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the marriage was entered in good faith and not merely for immigration benefits. When the marriage ends in divorce or is nearing its end, the conditional resident must still file the I-751 form but will do so individually, seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

Filing Individually with a Waiver

A conditional resident can file the I-751 form individually by requesting a waiver of the joint filing requirement if the marriage has ended due to divorce or is irretrievably broken. This requires proving that the marriage was bona fide at its inception and that the immigrant was not at fault for failing to file jointly with their spouse.

Required Documentation

The documentation needed in cases of divorce or separation differs from joint filings. It includes:

  • Divorce decree or legal documentation of separation: Proof that the marriage has legally ended or is in the process of ending.
  • Evidence of a bona fide marriage: Similar to the joint filing process, this includes joint financial records, birth certificates of children born to the marriage, photographs documenting the couple‚Äôs life together, and affidavits from friends and family attesting to the legitimacy of the marriage.
  • Explanation letter: A detailed personal declaration explaining the circumstances surrounding the divorce or separation and asserting the genuine nature of the marriage at its inception.

The Interview Process

Individual filers may also be subject to an interview, especially in cases of divorce or separation. The USCIS uses this opportunity to assess the authenticity of the marriage and the reasons behind the divorce or separation. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their relationship candidly, providing consistent and honest answers.

Potential Challenges

Filing the I-751 after a divorce or during separation proceedings introduces unique challenges. USCIS scrutinizes these applications closely to deter fraud. Applicants might face difficulty proving the bona fide nature of their marriage, especially if they lack joint financial assets or if there was a brief marriage duration before filing for divorce. Providing comprehensive evidence and a persuasive personal statement can significantly impact the outcome.

Approval and Next Steps

Upon approval of the I-751 with a waiver, the conditional status is removed, and the applicant is granted full permanent residency with a 10-year green card. This outcome solidifies the resident's status in the U.S., independent of their marital situation, and is a vital step towards eligibility for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

Conclusion

Navigating the I-751 petition process after a divorce or during separation is undoubtedly more challenging than filing jointly in an intact marriage. Nevertheless, with careful preparation, detailed documentation, and transparency, conditional residents can successfully remove the conditions on their residency. This process emphasizes the importance of proving the initial authenticity of the marriage, regardless of its eventual outcome.

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