If you gained conditional citizenship rights through marriage to a United States citizen or permanent resident and you are now divorced, this can cause major complications and make it difficult to stay in the United States. It is important to be proactive and take action immediately by contacting a Chicago immigration attorney. Even if your marriage is over or has been annulled, it is still possible to stay in the U.S. and even to receive a green card as you would have had you remained married. This is possible if you are granted an I-751 waiver.
The I-751 visa is a petition to remove the conditions on residence that are placed on someone’s citizenship when they are granted it as the result of a marriage. If you obtained a two-year green card through marriage, you and the same spouse who initially filed for the two-year green card are expected to submit a joint petition 90 days before this conditional green card runs out. This joint petition is known as the I-751 visa. If you are no longer married to the spouse who you received the conditional green card with, this can create complications. In order to waive the requirement that you file jointly with your spouse, you will have to apply for a waiver.
In order to get an I-751 waiver you (or your lawyer) can apply for one. You can apply for this waiver on the basis of abuse, divorce, or annulment. These applications are highly scrutinized. The most important thing that the reviewing officers will be looking for is evidence that the initial marriage was entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining citizenship. The more evidence you have to support that your marriage was real and entered into in good faith, the better you are likely to fare in receiving a waiver.
It is important to understand that the burden of proof is on you as the single person petitioning for the I-751 waiver to prove that you originally entered into your marriage in good faith. Even though you are now divorced, your intentions for originally entering into the marriage are highly relevant. Evidence that the relationship was genuine can improve proof that you had children together, such as birth certificates. Joint financial statements can also be compelling.
Yes, it could be seen as fairly high-stakes to file an I-751 waiver. Divorce from the person who you filed for citizenship with is a red flag to reviewers, and the burden is on you to prove that you entered into the marriage in good faith. If you are unable to convince them, you may not be able to remain in the country. However, if your visa has expired without a petition being filed you would not likely have fared better, so in many situations it is still a bet worth taking. It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer before deciding which visa and course of action are the best match for your specific needs.
If you are in need of an I-751 waiver or require assistance with another immigration-related issue, the experienced immigration attorneys at the Sverdloff Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.