If you received your green card by marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a divorce may make matters problematic. The main issue is whether a divorce appears fraudulent or inauthentic, so providing proof of a valid marriage is of great importance to remain in the United States legally.
How divorce impacts green card holders depends on their position in the application process:
- After your green card or visa petition was filed - If the other spouse (i.e. U.S. citizen or permanent resident) only files a green card or visa application, this means that the immigration proceedings is starting. So if the divorce occurs before approval or an interview, you cannot proceed to the next step of the process, thus ending your immigration efforts.
- After approval of green card - If you have already been approved of a green card, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not take another look at your application. However, this only applies to those who become permanent residents once they obtain approval--individuals who have been married for two or more years.
- After conditional residence is approved - By contrast, if you haven’t been married for at least two years, you can be approved for conditional residence. Those seeking permanent residency must file a Form I-751 after two years from your initial approval date. However, this form is a joint petition, signed by both parties. If your divorce occurs after you received the two-year green card, you must file the petition by yourself and provide evidence that the marriage was authentic throughout its duration. Common types of evidence include joint bank accounts, birth certificates of your children, copies of mortgage or rental contracts.
- When applying for U.S. Citizenship - USCIS will again review your immigration profile and marriage information. Any indication of a fraudulent marriage not only results in denial of citizenship but also potential deportation. Once again, you will need to prove that your marriage was valid.
If you experience any complications throughout the immigration process in Missouri, our experienced legal team in St. Charles can provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal assistance. Smith Law Offices, LLC is both a family law and immigration law firm with more than 30 years of experience to help you obtain the best outcome possible in your case.
For more information about divorce and immigration matters, contact us and schedule a confidential consultation today.