If you have received your green card through your marriage but you are either separated from your spouse or facing potential separation, one of the most common myths and fears that we hear from people is that they think they have to stay in a relationship or pretend they’re still in a relationship in order to keep their green card.
It’s absolutely not true. We’ve helped a ton of people in this situation. It’s an unfortunate situation that does happen sometimes. It’s a small percentage of the overall number of relationship. But if it happens to you, I know it’s a devastating time in your life. It does not mean you have to lose your immigration status at all.
Let’s talk about the process of how you get to keep your green card and what you have to do right away if you’re in this situation. Typically, when people have received a green card through a marriage that’s less than two years old at the time they received their green card, they are going to have to go through a process called removal of conditions. That happens in the 90 days before that two-year card expires. If you’re facing the removal of conditions process and your relationship has broken down, you have to do a different process.
People who are still in a relationship will jointly file this removal of conditions application with their spouse. But what you’ll need to do is a waiver of the joint filing requirement. This is a non-standard type of application. It’s not something where you just fill up a form and sending it in. There is a form but this is a delicate case where you definitely want to have a lawyer. We’re straightforward with people about things they can do themselves.
But this is a case where you want a lawyer’s assistance to make a very good legal argument for you so that you can stay in the United States. There are different types of arguments that we can make. Different legal bases for allowing you to remove your conditions without your spouse’s help.
The most common one is if you got divorced and the relationship didn’t work out. But at the beginning, you intended for it to work out. It was a real relationship that did not work out. If you can prove those two things, that is
the most common legal basis for getting your conditions removed without your spouse.
There are also other bases including if you have been a victim of abuse in your relationship or your spouse has passed away or if you are facing an extremely difficult situation in your home country. It would be dangerous for you if you returned to your home country. Those are also reasons that we can use.
Sometimes, we even use more than one basis. You may have gotten divorced and it was an abusive relationship. We’ll try for multiple bases because we want to have as much option as we can.
What we do with a client who’s in a situation is we will talk with you about how the relationship broke down exactly. What happened and we’ll get a bunch of evidence together. And we’ll make a legal argument that you meet one of those standards. We submit that to immigration.
There will be an interview with you in person. It won’t be with your spouse. It will just be with you and your lawyer can be present also. They’re going to ask you about the information that you’ve provided in your application. But if it’s prepared properly, you’re telling the truth and if it’s really done correctly, we have a very high rate of success on these cases.
It seems like in the immigrant community, people don’t think this is possible and everyone is constantly advising to stay in these abusive relationships. Or they’re separated and trying to hide it. There’s no reason to do that.
It’s enough of a traumatic experience to go through if your relationship has unfortunately broken down and there’s a legal way to handle that. Please contact us if you’re in that situation. We represent people in all 50 states in the
United States. Specifically, marriage-based immigration, including waivers of the joint filing requirement for removal of conditions.
One other thing I want to mention is about the filing time frame. Typically, when you’re filing jointly with
your spouse, you would file within the 90-days before your green card expires. In the case where the marriage breaks down before you get to the period, you can file it at anytime. Maybe you’re only 6 months or a year into
the relationship when it breaks down. You should start working on that process now. Don’t wait until it’s about to expire.
Get in contact with a reliable lawyer whether it’s us or another reliable immigration lawyer that has experience specifically in this area to make sure it’s taken care of correctly so that you don’t have to have anymore impact in your life from having gone through this situation.