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If your spouse applied for your green card within two year of your marriage, then you most likely got a conditional green card.  In a prior article, “Everything You Need to Know About New Jersey Conditional Green Cards,” I discussed the general procedures to remove that condition and what can happen if you don’t.  There I told you, that you have a three month window for you and your spouse to apply to remove those conditions.But what happens if your spouse refuses or can’t file the petition with you?  What happens if you are separated or divorced, are a widow, or a victim of abuse?  Under each of those circumstances you can still fill to remove your conditions, you just do so alone.  For each of these circumstances, you will still have to prove that you married in good faith.  If you are now divorced, it will be harder but we have done it for our clients.  It comes down to evidence, and lots of it.Today I want to discuss some of those circumstances were you can file to remove the conditions on your green card, alone.

Extreme hardship

This is the most general ground for a waiver, but it is the most difficult.  You don’t need to prove the good faith of the marriage in order to qualify, but it is easier if you do. You must show that political or economic changes have arisen in your country since the time you became a conditional resident that would cause you extreme hardship if you were to return. See 8 U.S.C. § 1186a(c)(4)(a).  Department of Homeland Security will only consider the time you received your conditional green card.  If circumstances existed before coming to the U.S. and nothing has really changed, you will have a hard time proving extreme hardship to remove the conditions on your green card on your own.

Divorce

The divorce must be final in order to qualify to remove the conditions on your green card on your own.  A divorce in New Jersey can take many months, so don’t wait until your spouse files the petition.  However, the longer you stay married, the easier it is to show that your marriage wasn’t a sham.  Keep in mind that immigration believes every application was a fraud to begin with.  So when faced with a divorce your proofs better be rock solid if you want it to be approved.

Battery or Extreme Cruelty

If you have been victimized by your U.S. Citizen spouse you may be able to remove the conditions of your green card alone and without even having a divorce.  You must prove that were the victim of “any act or threatened act of violence (by your U.S. citizen spouse), including any forceful detention, which results in physical or mental injury. Psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation, including rape, molestation, incest (if the victim is a minor), or forced prostitution shall be considered acts of violence.” See 8 C.F.R. § 216.5(e)(3)(i).

You will need to prove the bonafides of your marriage and that you were a victim.  Proving a victim can be easier, with police records, court records, medical records, photographs, psychological evaluations, and witness statements documenting the abuse.  However, if you quickly ran out of the house proving the bonafides of the marriage may be more challenging.  At present USCIS can’t advise the abusive spouse about the application.

Evidence

No matter which category you fall into, you will need substantial proof to be successful.  That will include both documents showing that your marriage was entered into in good faith and documents proving the divorce (a divorce decree), spouse’s death (a death decree), abuse, or hardship.

What Should I do?

If you face a New Jersey immigration challenge, you may not need an attorney.  Find out by downloading, “Do I Need an Immigration Attorney.”  If you should decide that you need an immigration attorney, find out how to choose the right one by downloading the book, “7 Critical Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring an Immigration Attorney.”  You can also contact me through this site or by using the chat feature.  If you are ready to speak to our knowledgeable staff you can call 888-695-6169

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