An immigrant who marries a United States citizen can apply for an adjustment of status. This is the process by which the United States citizen spouse petitions for an immigrant visa for their immigrant spouse. If the petition is approved, the immigrant spouse obtains either Lawful Permanent residency or a conditional resident status.
If the couple has been married for less than two years at the time of filing the petition, the immigrant spouse will receive what is called conditional resident status. This status is conditional in that it is valid for two years. The conditional resident enjoys all the benefits and rights of a permanent resident, except that the status is for only two years rather than for ten years.
Petition to Remove Conditions
Ninety days prior to the conclusion of two years from the date of obtaining the conditional resident status, the couple must apply for a removal of the conditions. The couple must show that their marriage was legal, that the marriage has not been terminated, that the marriage was entered into for reasons other than for obtaining immigrant status, and that there was no fee paid for receiving the conditional resident status (other tan attorney’s to assist in the filing of the petition).
Along with these threshold issues, the couple must also show that the marriage is valid under immigration law. The most common forms of evidence to establish this are joint accounts, joint ownership in property, commingling of assets and finances, evidence of children born of the marriage, affidavits of third parties concerning their respective knowledge of the validity of the marriage, as well as other evidence.
Joint Filing Requirement
The parties are generally required to file the petition jointly to remove the conditions on residency. The exceptions to the joint filing requirement include where the immigrant spouse or the petitioning spouse are outside the United States due to government orders, which the ninety day window for filing the petition would begin when the parties return to the country.
If the parties are divorced, the conditional resident must file a waiver of the joint filing requirement. There are several grounds for the waiver to be granted. These include a showing of extreme hardship if removed, that the marriage was entered into in good faith, or that the conditional resident was a battered spouse or subjected to extreme cruelty.
Our immigration attorneys have successfully filed numerous petitions for the removal of conditions. These petitions include cases that are relatively straight forward and cases where the joint filing requirement had to be waived. Call our immigration attorneys today if you need assistance in filing for a removal of conditions. We look forward to assisting you.