Marrying a U.S. citizen and moving to the United States allows foreign nationals to obtain a green card. While this card indicates that the holder is a legal permanent resident, there are two different status options. The regular card lasts 10 years, but a conditional permanent resident card lasts two years.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 90 days before the card expires, the holder needs to file to remove the conditions. Failing to apply in time could lead to loss of status and removal orders.
Eligibility to file jointly
A green card based on marriage is conditional if the couple married less than two years before the immigrant obtained permanent resident status. The USCIS wants to make sure that the spouse did not enter the marriage with false pretenses to gain citizenship. So, the spouses can file jointly to remove the conditions on the permanent resident’s status if the couple is still married when it is time to apply for the update.
Eligibility without spouse
Sometimes even marriages entered in good faith do not last two years. A death, divorce or annulment does not necessarily disqualify the green card holder from removing the conditions. A waiver of the joint filing requirement is available for those who are no longer married. The USCIS form states that evidence of the validity of the relationship could include:
- A transaction history of a joint checking account
- Income tax returns
- Joint utility bills
- Documents showing joint ownership of assets and liabilities
- Affidavits from people who are willing to testify that they have known both spouses since the USCIS granted the green card
The filer must include a death certificate, divorce or annulment papers as proof of how the relationship ended. Beginning early and providing plenty of evidence can prevent delays from becoming a loss of status.