Getting divorced is complicated enough as it is, more so if your immigration status is on the line. If your spouse is your green card sponsor but gets divorced before being a permanent U.S. resident, what will happen to your application?
Divorce and Getting a Green Card
Put simply, when you get divorced prior to being granted a permanent resident status, USCIS will deny your application. However, many foreign-born ex-spouses who are still in the process of divorcing might be given a conditional permanent residence status if they still want to stay in the U.S. However, you can’t use the basis of green card through marriage or family green card.
Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. and other immigration attorneys in Utah say that you can instead try applying for “Waiver of Termination” if your marriage was in good faith or real.
What Requirements You Need to Fulfill
You must meet one or more of these requirements for the USCIS to validate and accept your waiver of termination application:
- Undisputable evidence that your marriage was valid and real;
- Evidence that you’ll suffer severe hardship if you return to your home country; or
- Evidence that your U.S. citizen spouse abused you or was violent towards you.
Your waiver and evidence of the above would help establish that your marital union was valid and that you must get a chance to continue your application without your spouse.
On the other hand, if you already have a conditional permanent resident green card prior to the breakdown of your marriage, your status is already that of a conditional permanent resident. However, you’d need to file the Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence (Form I-751) prior to your green card expiration.
If you have an unconditional permanent residence status before divorcing, your only problem might be a delay in getting your full U.S. citizenship status. For example, if you divorce within three years of the marriage, you might need to wait until five while years of being a permanent U.S. resident prior to applying for full U.S. citizenship.
The effects on your green card application if you divorce from a U.S. citizen spouse would depend on the situation (as discussed above) as long as you had a valid marriage. For a more in-depth evaluation of how your divorce could affect your resident status, seek help from an immigration lawyer with ample experience in similar cases.