I-751 Waiver Keys to Success

When filing a request to waive the joint filing requirement, there are three types of waivers and the evidence for each differs:

  1. Divorce after a good-faith marriage
  2. Abuse or battery by your U.S. spouse in a good-faith marriage, and
  3. Extreme hardship to you, the immigrant, if returned to your country of origin.

Each situation is specific and needs particular attention:

  • Couple wants a divorce but the divorce may not be finalized before green card expires. We sit down with the client and discuss their options. A divorce in the state of California can take a long time, so perhaps waiting to divorce until they obtain their 10-year green card would be best.  Timing must be taken into consideration.
  • Couple has already gotten a divorce after only a few months of marriage. The couple has already filed for divorces due to issues with the in-laws, finances, children, ex-husband, and more. With very little time married, there is a lack documentation of the marriage.
  • Spouse suffers from abuse. While the marriage was entered in good faith, there is very little documentation of a shared life because the other spouse was controlling and did not allow it.

When the petitioner is unable to file jointly with their spouse the burden of proof increases greatly. It is crucial that we articulate a compelling story through documentation and creativity. The adjudication officer will be very suspicious:

  • Was the marriage merely a “business transaction” to skirt immigration laws?
  • Are there enough documents to show when the marriage barely lasted?
  • Because the spouse likely moved out, did they ever live together?
  • There are likely no sentimental gifts to show, only angry texts.

Because of a high perceived number of fraudulent cases, adjudicating officers are suspect when they see red flags such as interracial marriages, income disparity, large age disparity, difference in language or fluency level, same-sex marriage, multiple previous marriages, lack of commingled assets, or a vast difference in religion or culture.