Conditional residence through a spouse

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments (I-M-F-A-) of 1986 imposed additional requirements on foreign nationals who obtain permanent residence through a U.S. citizen or a permanent spouse. Not all aliens are covered by I.M.F.A., however, alien spouses who were married to the petitioning spouse less than two years before the spouse was granted permanent residence must meet the additional requirements. These requirements include being granted only conditional permanent residence status. If the foreign national had children before marriage to the citizen or resident petitioner, and the children are not the natural-born children of the petitioning spouse, they will be given permanent residence on a conditional basis. To remove the condition, such foreign nationals must file a petition with I.N.S., together with their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. This must be done during the ninety day period before the second anniversary of their admittance as permanent residents. The petition must be accompanied by supporting documentation showing that the marriage is legitimate and continues to exist. Children of conditional spouses must follow the same steps to have conditional status removed from their green cards. There are several cases where it is possible to obtain a waiver of the joint petition requirement. These include: if the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse has died, if the marriage has ended in divorce, or if the non-foreign spouse refuses to cooperate. A waiver is also available for spouses or children who were physically battered or subjected to extreme mental cruelty by their citizen or resident spouse or parent. For additional information on conditional residence through a spouse, consult an immigration specialist attorney in your area.

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