Waivers to the Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (I-751)
The Immigration Marriage Fraud Act of 1986 (IMFA) was added to the immigration laws to prevent people from entering fraudulent marriages solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card (lawful permanent resident status). This law created a "conditional residence." Immigrants who received their green cards through a marriage to a U.S citizen (USC) or lawful permanent resident (LPR) and that marriage is less than two years at the time of the permanent residence interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are given "conditional residence" for two years. Within 90 days before the end of the two-year period, both spouses must file a joint petition to have the condition removed, and both may be required to appear before a USCIS official for a personal interview.
In certain cases, conditional residents will not be able to file the joint petition to remove the conditions with their petitioning spouses. In these situations, the conditional resident will have to file the joint petition himself or herself, requesting a waiver of the usual requirement to file jointly with the petitioning spouse. There are three types of waivers to the joint petitioning requirement, all of which require showing of a good faith marriage. The applicant must prove that his or her marriage was entered into in good faith and not for fraudulent immigration purposes. Additionally, an applicant must prove that he or she fits within at least one of the following three categories:
- The removal of the conditional resident from the United States would result in extreme hardship; or
- The good faith marriage was legally terminated, other than by death, and the applicant was not at fault for failing to file a timely application to remove the condition; or
- During the course of the good faith marriage, the conditional resident was subjected to battering or extreme cruelty by the USC or LPR spouse or parent and the conditional resident was not at fault for the failure to timely file to remove the condition.
A conditional resident may file for any or all three of the waivers for which he or she qualifies.