Removal of Conditions of Residence
When a marriage is less than two (2) years old at the time a request for permanent residence is approved, the applicant will be granted conditional residence. They are then required to file to remove the conditions of their residence during the ninety (90) days immediately preceding the 2-year anniversary of the day their case was approved. This procedure is an additional safeguard by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designed to ensure that the marriage was real and was not entered only for the purpose of obtaining status. Typically, the couple will jointly file the request, submitting additional documents gathered over the last 2 years demonstrating the marriage was indeed bona fide.
However, much can happen in two years. Sometimes despite the best of intentions, the relationship can fall apart. There are three types of waivers available which excuse the requirement that the petition be filed by both parties together. If the applicant has been a victim of domestic violence, if denial of the petition would cause the applicant extreme hardship, or if the marriage ended in divorce, a waiver of the joint filing requirement is permitted. Each of these three waivers requires a showing that the marriage was entered into in good faith. This will frequently need to be proven by substantial evidence which can be difficult to obtain depending on the circumstances. Denial of the petition results in the case being referred to Immigration Court for removal (deportation) proceedings, so it is essential to have an experienced immigration attorney during this process. Our office regularly represents couples jointly filing this petition as well as individuals seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement, both before USCIS and the immigration courts.