A Two-year Green Card, also known as (1) a Temporary Green Card, (2) a Conditional Green Card, (3) a Spousal Green Card, and (4) CR-1 Visa, is a special kind of Green Card. It is given to spousal beneficiaries of a Green Card application when a qualifying marriage is less than 2 years old at the time of the Lawful Permanent Residence Approval. (See relevant post here). However, this post will explain what a “Two-year Green Card Holder” should do next.
One Down, Possibly Two To Go
Ok, you went to the interview and you were approved. Congratulations!!! However, that was probably the first of three interviews or filings you will have to overcome. The first and possibly quickest USCIS filing is behind you.
The second filing is the I-751 removal of conditions, which can take between 12 months to 24 months, depending upon which jurisdiction you file in (there are two in the U.S.: east and west).
The third filing is the N-400 naturalization under the three-year category. (Note: the third filing may or may not occur because spousal green cards may either wait 3 years to file for naturalization or 5 years.)
Burden You Must Overcome
For marriage-based green card processing, the couple has the burden of proving to the U.S. Government that the marriage is real. If you are one of my clients, you likely heard me saying that the Government presumes all marriages are fraudulent, which means each and every applicant must prove the Government wrong.
Proving a relationship is real can be simple or very difficult. A couple must be able to provide evidence that they lived together. In the First Filing, the couple had to prove the relationship was real back to its beginning. In the Second Filing, the couple has to prove the relationship from the date the Green Card Approved to the I-751 Filing. In the Third Filing, the couple may have to prove the relationship was real back to its beginning.
What To Do Now
Evidence gathering is very important for every green card process. For young spouses subject to the conditional green card, it is highly important to either (1) save a copy of your evidence in one place, or (2) to digitize your evidence is save it to the cloud, a flash drive, or a computer.
Evidence is difficult to acquire weeks, months, and years later. As a courtesy to my clients, I safeguard digitized client documents for 10 years. If you do not have a lawyer, you should consider saving the information someplace safe.
Evidencing a Marriage
The best kind of evidence to keep are as follows:
- joint tax returns
- joint bills, such as electric, cell phone, water,
- joint bank accounts, whether savings, checking, CDs or the like
- joint car insurance
- joint debt, such as home loans, car loans, or credit cards
- joint deeds to land or title to cars and trailers
- joint leases
- gym memberships
- photos together
- plane tickets for trips taken together
- wills, power of attorneys, advance directives, and life insurances (if they name the spouse as beneficiary)
- communication logs, such as Skype, Whatapp, Viber, calls, and texts
The above list is not exhaustive. If something has the names of both spouses on it, it is a usable piece of evidence. For instance, a BIR Report or Red Report from an Armed Forces Member is useful and it has both names on it. You should always keep on the look-out for more evidence.
The next steps may be a different experience than the filing you just encountered. If you move to a different jurisdiction and encounter marital troubles, the aid of an immigration attorney may be helpful.
To return to the “conditional green card,” it is fragile. If USCIS finds a relationship to be fraud or fake, the immigrant can be immediately placed in deportation proceedings. This is a possibility; however, if there is sufficient evidence readily available, the immigrant spouse can rest assured that he or she can offer proof to the U.S. Government that the marriage, their relationship is real.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Fickey Martinez Law Firm at (910) 526-0066 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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