After entering into a good-faith marriage with a U.S. Citizen and getting a Conditional Green Card, my spouse and I have developed differences and we are considering legal separation.
Will I be able to apply for the Permanent Green Card even if I am separated or divorced from my U.S. Citizen spouse?
While this is an unfortunate situation, this is a very common questions for immigrants. As a background, I will explain why the 2-year conditional green card was issued, instead of the ten-year permanent green card. The Conditional Green Card is issued if on the date of the approval of permanent residence, the marriage is less than two years old. Then, within ninety days of your green card expiration, you need to fill your I-751, the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
What happens if you get divorced before the immigration interview date after filing for the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative? Then, the Green card application will be denied because the green card petition is based on the marriage to the U.S. Citizen.
However, the situation changes if you are getting separated or divorced after getting the 2-year green card. If you are separated or divorced, you can still file for the I-751 and obtain a waiver of the joint filing requirement. However, if you are already separated with intention for divorce, it is better to file the Divorce Complaint before you submit the I-751. Regardless, you must prove that you entered into a good-faith marriage, not a fraud marriage.
Our office can assist you in both filing for divorce and preparing the I-751 Petition to apply for the permanent green card.