DISCLAIMER: case results are not meant as legal advice or a guarantee as to any specific outcome.
A person receives a conditional permanent resident card if a marriage was less than two years old on the day the person became a permanent resident. My client had been admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa and received her two-year green card sometime after.
My client came to me because she had received a notice from the USCIS (United States and Citizenship Services) to appear for her “removal of conditions” interview. My client was very distressed for a few reasons:
- She had only resided with her husband for less than a year;
- She had been in a long-distance relationship with her husband for over 4 years;
- The couple did not have much evidence to show evidence of communication between them; and
- There was little evidence to indicate that they financially supported each other.
I cautioned my client about another “red flag” that might cause USCIS to question the relationship: the couple’s 20-year age difference. On top of that, the initial I-130 Petition for Alien Relative petition had been filed by an individual who was not a licensed attorney, and the evidence submitted by the attorney at that initial stage was minimal. For those reason, the following stages of the process would likely draw extra scrutiny.
Fortunately, my client’s husband traveled from Puerto Rico, where he lived, to the United States to accompany her to the removal of conditions interview. We all met and developed a comprehensive plan to see my client’s case to a successful conclusion.
Our basic approach was as follows:
- We drafted a detailed declaration describing the beginning, development, and current state of the marriage and romantic relationship between them;
- We retrieved additional witness letters from colleagues, friends, and family members that described their love and legitimate commitment to each other;
- We retrieved relevant text messages and phone call logs to show more clearly the existence and nature of the communication between them; and
- We articulated the mature nature of their relationship and that the long-distance aspect of their relationship did lessen the legitimacy of their marriage.
In addition to the above, I developed a comprehensive list of questions – based on the evidence that we had compiled and that they had provided – that I strongly believed the officer was going to ask on the day of the interview. That was exactly what happened: The officer asked the couple 95% of the questions we had prepared for. It is very easy for anxiety, surprise, or frustration to make a truthful answer sound shaky, which is why preparation is so important.
Our case was approved and my client was able to remove the conditions of her permanent residence and remain in the United States.