Marriage And Divorce I-751 Issues

Marriage And Divorce I-751 Issues

I have been married since July 2005. I was granted conditioned permanent resident status in July 2007. Since my marriage is falling apart, what would my status be if we got a divorce? Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.
— anonymous

There are a couple of things you need to do.

First, you need to look at your marriage certificate to see your exact date of marriage. Then you need to look on your green card to see the exact date of your admission as a permanent resident. If your marriage occurred two years or more before you were granted permanent residency, then you are not a conditional permanent resident; rather, you are a permanent resident and your green card should be valid for 10 years. However, assuming you are a conditional resident because you were married for less than two years when you were granted such status, you are required to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions. If you are still married during the three month period immediately before the two year anniversary of your becoming a permanent resident, you may file the Form I-751 as a joint petition. Both you and your spouse will be required to sign the form.

If your marriage ends in divorce, your conditional permanent resident status terminates on the date the divorce becomes final. At that time, you are no longer a permanent resident of the United States and you become ineligible to work or travel outside the United States, among other consequences. As such, it would be wise to immediately file the Form I-751 as a waiver and indicate on the form how you are eligible for the waiver. You are the only one who will sign the form.

It is important to note that once a divorce becomes final, whether it is 3 months or 18 months after the conditional permanent resident status was granted, the Form I-751 can be filed as a waiver any time thereafter. You do not have to (and should not) wait until the abovementioned three month period arrives to file the waiver if the divorce became final before that period. Once you file the I-751 waiver, USCIS will issue a receipt extending your permanent resident status for one year or until a decision can be made. Because it is extremely important that an I-751 waiver be appropriately documented and properly filed, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with the process.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

Last updated: July 28, 2008