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When a spouse with conditional residency cheats

Some U.S. citizens in California who marry foreign nationals may later find out their spouses are cheating before they have received their permanent resident cards. When that occurs, the U.S. citizen may want to prevent the other spouse from gaining permanent residency status based upon the marriage.

A person who marries and applies for a green card before having lived in the country for two years is given conditional status and allowed to remain until the two-year period is up. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires the U.S. citizen spouse to sign the application for permanent residence after having been married for two years.

In the event the U.S. spouse learns that the foreign-national spouse is cheating before that two years has passed, it may be possible to prevent the foreign national from obtaining permanent residence status by not doing anything at all. That means they would choose to not get divorced or seek an annulment. It also means they would not agree to sign their spouse's application. In order for the application to be approved when it has been less than two years, the USCIS mandates that the spouse must show that their marriage was made in good faith and that the marriage either ended in divorce or annulment. They may also show that the U.S. spouse was abusive to them or that being deported to their home country would result in extreme hardship.

Immigration law can be complicated when it is applied to different types of situations. People who have questions regarding their own case may want to seek the advice of an immigration and naturalization attorney.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber