Marriage is a wonderful time in two people’s lives. It is the ultimate expression of the love for each other to the world. We all want to think that once we are married, we will be with our partner for the rest of our lives. That is not always the case though. More often than not, people get divorced. And yes, divorce can sometimes be a scary thing. It may leave you emotionally exhausting, it can be expensive, and if you are an immigrant who obtained a Green Card thorough marriage, it may affect your status.
Let’s talk about the good news first. If you are already a Green Card holder and have already petitioned to remove any conditions that where initially placed on it when you received it, then when your Green Card is up for renewal in the usual 10 years’ time, for the most part your renewal will not be affected. What’s more, if your divorce is finalized before you renew your Green Card, you can file to change your surname back to your maiden name at the time of renewal if you choose to. You will have to submit documents stating that you have legally changed it.
If your Green Card still has conditions placed on it, then yes there may be issues. Typically, your initial Green Card comes with a 2-year condition. During this time the US government is still evaluating your marriage to make sure that it is a bona fide marriage. So, getting a divorce or annulment within the first two years looks very bad on your since it makes your marriage seem less genuine. You can still apply to have the condition removed, however, the government will see that you are no longer married and may scrutinize your marriage even more to make sure both parties entered it in good faith and not entered for the sole purpose of obtaining a Green Card.
This can pose an issue if your marriage did not end amicably. Your former partner may be vindictive and try to make things difficult on you. However, doing so will be bad on your partner as well as he may be unknowingly admitting to committing immigration fraud if he lies about the good faith marriage. The US government does realize that people do fall out of love, however you must be able to prove that the marriage was legitimate, that there was love at some point, and that when you entered the marriage you and your partner were committed to each other.
Another issue may arise if you are trying to apply for citizenship through the Naturalization process. Typically, becoming a US citizen is quicker if you apply through the marriage route. However, not only must you remain married for the minimum required time that the US government has set for this route, but you also must remain married until you are granted citizenship.
Fear not though, all is not lost if you divorced before the minimum required time or before you become a US citizen. You can still apply for citizenship; however, you now will have to wait a few years more before you qualify to apply for it.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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