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How to remove the conditions on your green card after marriage

You know that you married your spouse because you loved him or her, because you couldn't imagine living life without that person.

Sadly, the U.S. immigration authorities are not so romantic. They fear that too many people will decide to get married simply to gain green cards in America. For this reason, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) only grants conditional green cards to those whose permanent residency status is based on a marriage less than two years old.

The good news is that you can apply to have the "conditional" part removed. The bad news is that if you don't apply for this, USCIS will begin removal (deportation) proceedings against you.

You can generally apply to have the conditions removed if you got married in good faith and one of the following is true:

  • Two years have passed and you are still married.
  • Your spouse passed away.
  • You got divorced or had the marriage annulled.
  • You or your child was battered or abused by your spouse.

If your marriage ended in divorce or if you are a victim of abuse, you must also prove that being removed from the country would mean "extreme hardship" for you.

If you believe that you qualify to have the conditions removed on your residency status, you must apply together with your husband or wife. If filing a joint petition is impossible (due to divorce or abuse, for instance), you can request a waiver.

As with all immigration law issues in New York and throughout the U.S., it is wise to consult a lawyer experienced in these matters. He or she can provide the detailed legal guidance you need to remain in the country legally.

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