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In this week’s article, I will be revisiting a misconception concerning the 2 year conditional green card. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN remove conditions on your green card and extend it for another 10 years, EVEN IF you went through a divorce prior to filing the petition with Immigration. 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 leave the United States. 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 conditions 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. (To read a letter I received from a client regarding this exact misconception, please visit my website at

As I covered on my website, 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 have questions, or need assistance, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai direct line at (818) 505-4921. If you have any questions that you would like to be answered in future articles, or would like to share your opinions, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also be sure to check us out on the web at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM, and now on FACEBOOK at: Be sure to follow (and "like") me for the most recent updates in the law!


Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. All opinions expressed are those of the author and in no way shall be associated with Sereechai Newspaper. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.