After obtaining permanent resident status due to the spousal petition, the beneficiary will be given a green card until they have been married for over two years. Likewise, a K1 fiancé adjustment will also result in the beneficiary receiving a green card. This conditional green card will be valid for those two years until the beneficiary files the I-751 petition to have these conditions removed and to transition to an unconditional status as a permanent resident.
This I-751 petition gives USCIS the opportunity to check for fraud and to determine whether the marriage is a valid one. At this point, the couple can file an I-751 petition together.
Filing for the I-751 When You Are Divorced or Separated
In the event of a marriage ending, couples that are divorced or separated before their second anniversary, the beneficiary must still petition for a permanent green card. The spouse that is the beneficiary must file for the I-751 removal of conditions along with the request to waive the requirement to file as a couple.
For the joint filing waiver to be obtained, there needn’t be an issue of spousal abuse. You can receive a waiver since as a couple, you both had irreconcilable differences, resulting in a separation or divorce.
However, to obtain this waiver for a joint petition, you need to be divorced. This may pose a problem when filing for a petition, as certain states have varying required periods of separation before granting a couple a divorce. The I-751 itself must be filed 90 days before the green card is to expire. By separating before or during those 90 days, you will likely not be divorced in enough time to file the petition.
During this type of scenario, you’ll need to file your I-751 form to request a waiver, explaining that you’re anticipating being divorced. In this form, provide an estimated date that you will likely be divorced.
Requirements for the Waiver and the Removal of Conditions
As USCIS will use the I-751 petition to determine the authenticity of your relationship, you should be prepared to prove that it was real. When filing, you will be required to show supporting documents that prove you and your spouse were engaged in a relationship that wasn’t a pretense to obtain a green card.
This evidence can include proof of co-dependence throughout the relationship. This proof should show that both parties trusted each other when dealing with debts and financial assets. Additionally, letters from family and friends speaking to the authenticity of the relationship can also be used as proof. Moreover, documents showing joint insurance will also help.
Can Divorce Cost You Your Green Card?
Many people fear that a divorce will cause them to lose their green card. The reality is that divorce will not cost you your green card. However, you will be required to remove the conditions for residence. USCIS will investigate the removal of conditions more closely if you are filing following divorce of separation. For this reason, you should be prepared to provide documentation speaking to the authenticity of your marriage.
As the process of removal of conditions can become quite complicated, it is best to file your petition as soon as possible. Additionally, try to obtain your divorce decree quickly so that you can supplement your filing once you receive notice from UCIS.