Marriage can be complicated – and even difficult at times. This can be even more complicated if your U.S. citizenship is tied to your spouse and you are going through a divorce.
Find out how divorce can impact your future citizenship.
What you need to know about divorce and citizenship status
How divorce may impact your quest for U.S. citizenship can depend on your spouse’s immigration status, and any immigration benefits you received.
If you received residency by marrying a U.S. citizen and you are now divorced, you may only receive a two-year conditional green card instead of a 10-year green card. During the two years, your marriage may be investigated to ensure it was legit and was not only used to obtain a fraudulent green card.
To become a permanent resident you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence. This must be submitted before your green card expires. If you are already divorced, you can fill out the form yourself by filing a waiver. Otherwise, you should fill it out with your spouse.
If you are divorced, you will need to prove you married in “good faith,” and that you intended to live with your spouse and have a normal marriage in order to try to become a permanent resident. You will need to prove your relationship through documents that can include a joint checking account, an apartment lease, joint credit cards, joint property ownership, shared insurance policies, and other evidence that prove you entered into a bona fide marriage.
If you are already a permanent resident before getting divorced, it should not impact your status. However, it may mean you will have to wait longer to apply for naturalization.
Divorce vs. Separation
It’s essential to know the difference between a separation, legal separation and divorce when determining how this can impact your immigration status.
With a separation, you are still legally married but may be living apart. In this situation, your immigration status is unlikely to be changed.
If you are legally separated, it could impact your immigration status. This can be viewed as a preface to divorce by USCIS and your conditional resident status could be revoked and you could be placed in removal proceedings. You will need to work with an immigration attorney to prove your marriage was legit and you just encountered relationship issues to see if you can still obtain a green card despite the separation.
If you received permanent residence before your legal separation, then your status should remain unchanged.
If you are divorced, you are no longer legally married, then the general terms outlined above will apply to your case.
When considering a separation or divorce, it’s critical to hire an immigration attorney so he or she can help you understand how your relationship can impact your immigration status.
Why Hire Us To Help With Your Citizenship Matter
When you need an immigration lawyer, let the experts at Johnstone Adams LLC represent you.
Our experienced immigration lawyers assist businesses and individuals with immigrant and non-immigrant visas, Form I-9 compliance and audits, and other immigration matters throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida panhandle. We provide each client with personal access to a team of senior lawyers who thoroughly understand the complex web of immigration laws and the enormous impact these laws can have on a person’s life or a business’s bottom line.
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