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In this week’s article, I will be revisiting a misconception concerning the 2 year conditional green card. I am republishing this because I have received several cases where this misconception has led to horrific results. Contrary to popular belief, you can remove conditions on your green card and extend it to a 10 year, even if you went through a divorce prior to filing the petition. This is an old email question that was sent to me from Khun “Thap” from San Diego, CA:

Q: “Dear Attorney Joseph. I have an immigration problem and I don’t know what to do. I have a 2 year green card that will be expiring in a few months. I know I have to renew this before it expires but the problem is that I recently got a divorce. My ex-wife and I just couldn’t get along anymore. My friends all tell me that I have no option now. That I have to give up my green card and move back to Thailand! I don’t want to do this because I have established myself here already. Can you help me? I am so stressed about this. Could I come see you at the office? Please, any suggestion would help. Thank you.”  (Khun “Thap”; San Diego, CA)

A: Yes, I can help you! Many people (even some attorney’s too btw!) think that if you have a 2-year green card, and you get divorced prior to the expiration of this green card, you cannot renew/extend your green card and must return to your country of origin. This is not true and a misunderstanding of the law. 

The 2-Year “Conditional” Green Card Based on Marriage

A “conditional” green card is lawful residency status that is issued with a 2 year expiration. This type of green card is issued if you were married less than two years when your lawful permanent residency status was granted. Prior to the 2 year anniversary of this green card, you are required to petition for removal of this condition. In general, to convert the conditional green card into a 10 year green card, the U.S. citizen/sponsoring spouse and the conditional green card-holding spouse must petition to have the condition removed within 3 months before the card expires. Failure to do this will result in the expiration of the green card and termination of lawful permanent residency status.

Divorced and No Longer Married – Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement

Although the petition you submit to immigration in order to remove conditions on your 2-year green card is consider a “joint” petition (meaning, together with your spouse), there is a way to file without your spouse. It’s called a request to waive the joint filing requirement and I have successfully done this for many clients who were married in good faith, but subsequently divorced (However, each case is different so please contact me so that I can better advise you regarding your particular case. Attached is a letter I received from a client. She too thought it was impossible to extend her 2-year Green Card after her divorce. To read more testimonials, please visit my website at

As I covered on my website under my FAQ’s section, you can get a divorce or be divorced, even if you received your green card through this marriage and still file to extend your lawful permanent residency. There is no law that restricts a person’s freedom to get divorced. Just as you are, for the most part, free to marry anyone you wish, there is no law against getting a divorce.

If you still have questions, need assistance with this or any other legal issue, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or to speak to my Thai assistant, "Nuch" call (818) 505-4921. If you have any questions that you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my revamped website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM for general information regarding this and many other topics in Business, Property and Family Law.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.