Removal of Conditions When No Longer Living With Your Spouse
Aug. 15, 2023
One common way that immigrants obtain permanent resident status in the United States is by marrying someone who’s already a citizen. Of course, not all marriages stand the test of time, and you may be concerned about your residency status if you’re no longer living with your spouse, going through a separation, or getting a divorce.
To learn more about how marriage separation affects immigration status and what to do about it, call us at Corbaci Law, P.C. We can help clients in Woburn, Massachusetts, as well as the surrounding areas of Boston, Marlborough, and Framingham.
Will Separation/Divorce Affect My Immigration Status?
It is possible that your separation or divorce will affect your immigration status, but it will depend on whether you already have permanent resident status.
If you’re married to a U.S. citizen and are getting a divorce but haven’t applied for or received a provisional green card, you may be at risk for deportation. The best thing you can do in this situation is to contact an immigration attorney and explain your situation to see what options you have.
If I’m a conditional green card holder: If you’ve been married to your spouse for fewer than two years, you’ll have conditional permanent residence, and it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to remain in the country legally after your divorce. This is because the U.S. government may view your marriage as a sham, and you will have to present compelling evidence to prove you entered the marriage in good faith and you were not at fault for it ending.
If I’m a permanent green card holder: There are fewer restrictions for someone who has already been granted permanent resident status and then gets divorced. In most cases, this won’t affect your immigration status at all. However, you will have to wait five years instead of the standard three before you can apply to become a naturalized citizen.
What Does Removal of Conditions Mean?
When a U.S. citizen marries a non-U.S. citizen, the non-U.S. citizen spouse can be issued a conditional green card. This conditional status will be in place for two years, after which time you can then apply for “removal of conditions” and be granted permanent resident status. This waiting period is to ensure the marriage is valid and was not undertaken simply to gain citizenship. Typically, the couple must file jointly to remove conditions, but if you’re divorced or separated, you’ll have to get a waiver for the requirement to file a joint petition for removal of conditions.
Who Is Eligible for Removal of Conditions?
To apply for removal of conditions, you must have remained married to the same U.S. citizen for at least two years. However, if your marriage ended before the two years were up, you may still be able to apply on your own. To do this, you must provide evidence that your marriage was entered into in good faith. Examples of proof could include:
Evidence that you or your children were battered or abused by your spouse
Evidence that you attempted to make the marriage works (for instance, by seeing a couple's counselor)
Evidence that deportation would cause an extreme hardship
Evidence that the divorce was not your fault (one way to do this could be using testimony from witnesses)
Representing Clients With Care
If you live in or around the Woburn, Massachusetts, area and you’d like to meet with an immigration lawyer, call us today at Corbaci Law, P.C. We can help you better understand your options for seeking removal of conditions if you’re no longer married to a U.S. citizen.