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세금과 법률(Tax & Law)
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↓   SUBJECT: Filing a Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement Prior to Final Termination of the Marriage

U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service

HQADN 70/23.12


425 I Street NW Washington, DC 20536


April 10, 2003




MEMORANDUM FOR REGIONAL DIRECTORS SERVICE CENTER DIRECTORS DISTRICT DIRECTORS

FROM:        William R. Yates /s/ Janis Sposato
Acting Associate Director, Operations
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

SUBJECT:        Filing a Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement Prior to Final Termination of the Marriage

Background

The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986
        a) (IMFA),
        b) Pub. L. 99-639 (November 10, 1986),

1) were enacted to combat fraud
        a) perpetrated by aliens
                i) who marry
                        A) only to obtain immigration benefits.

The IMFA amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act)
        a) by adding a new section 216,
                i) which imposes an initial 2-year period
                        A) of conditional residency
                        B) on a person
                                I) who acquired permanent resident status
                                        (a) based on a recent marriage.

Section 216 also provides a comprehensive procedure
        a) by which a conditional resident may have these conditions removed
                i) following approval
                        A) of a petition
                                I) filed jointly with
                                        (a) the citizen or
                                        (b) lawful permanent resident spouse, or
                ii) after approval
                        A) of a waiver
                                I) of the joint petitioning requirement
                iii) (both filed
                        A) on Form I-751,
                                I) Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence).

Section 216 further mandates termination
        a) of the conditional resident’s status

1) if he or she fails to comply with the requirements
        a) for removal of the conditions
        b) at the end
                i) of the 2-year period.

Finally,

section 216 allows an alien
        a) whose status has been terminated
        b) to ask the immigration judge
                i) to review this decision
                        A) during deportation proceedings.

In recent months,

several questions have been raised
        a) regarding whether a conditional resident can file a waiver
                i) of the joint petitioning requirement
                ii) on Form I-751
                iii) after commencement of
                        A) divorce or
                        B) annulment
                                I) proceedings
                iv) but prior to final termination
                        A) of the marriage.

This memorandum clarifies the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (Service) position
        a) on this issue.


Memorandum for Regional Directors, et al.        Page 2

Subject:        Filing a Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement Prior to Final Termination of the Marriage

Filing a Form I-751 prior to final termination of the marriage

According to section 216(c)(4)(B)
        a) of the Act,

1) a waiver
        a) of the joint filing requirement

   may be granted
2) if the alien spouse can establish that
        a) “the qualifying marriage was entered into
                i) in good faith
                ii) by the alien spouse,
        b) but
                i) the qualifying marriage has been terminated
                        A) (other than through the death of the spouse) and
                ii) the alien was not at fault
                        A) in failing to meet the requirements
                                I) of paragraph (1)”.  

The statute clearly requires that
        a) the marriage
                i) already
                ii) be terminated and,
        b) thus, the mere commencement
                i) of divorce proceedings

           is not sufficient.

Further,

in Matter of Anderson,
        a) 20 I&N Dec. 888 (BIA 1994),

1) it was determined that
        a) an alien spouse:

        [W]as ineligible
                i) to apply for a waiver
                        A) under section 216(c)(4)(B) [of the Act]

        1) because she remained married
                i) to her husband . . .

        if the respondent had become
                i) statutorily
                ii) eligible
                        A) to apply for the section 216(c)(4)(B) waiver
                        B) by virtue of changed circumstances,
                                I) i.e., through the termination of her marriage . . .

        1) she could have sought a continuance
                i) from the immigration judge
                ii) to pursue her alternative application
                        A) with the Service.

In addition,

the instructions
        a) to the Form I-751

1) clearly state that:

        [Y]ou may apply for a waiver
                i) of th[e] joint filing requirement
                ii) on this form

        1) if . . .
                i) you entered into the marriage
                        A) in good faith,
                ii) but the marriage was later terminated
                        A) due to divorce or annulment . . .

        If you are filing
                i) to waive the joint filing requirement
                ii) because your marriage has been terminated,

        1) also submit a copy of
                i) the divorce decree or
                ii) other document
                        A) terminating or
                        B) annulling
                                I) the marriage with your petition.


As such,

an alien
        a) whose conditional resident status is approaching the 2-year anniversary
                i) of the grant of such status,
        b) but who is unable to file a joint petition
                i) to remove the conditions
                ii) because
                        A) divorce or
                        B) annulment
                                I) proceedings

                    have commenced,

1) may not apply for a waiver
        a) of the joint filing requirement
        b) based on the “good faith” exception.

If
        a) an alien’s conditional resident status is terminated
                i) because he or she could not
                        A) timely
                        B) file a Form I-751, and
        b) he or she is placed
                i) in removal proceedings,

1) then
        a) he or she may request a continuance
                i) from the immigration judge
                ii) to allow for the finalization
                        A) of
                                I) the divorce or
                                II) annulment proceedings.

It is noted that
        a) the conditional resident
                i) whose status has been terminated

            should be issued a temporary I-551
                i) during the pendency
                        A) of his or her case
                                I) before the immigration judge
(see Genco Opinion 96-12).



↑   SUBJECT: Filing a Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement Prior to Final Termination of the Marriage
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