Divorce is an exhaustingly stressful event in life, but the truth is that marriages sometimes fail. Divorce is emotionally harrowing, expensive, and yes, it can even cause problems with your immigration status if you are a green card holder. It is important for you to understand how divorce or marriage annulment can affect your immigration status prior to filing another petition or application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
At Familia America Immigration in Salt Lake City, we understand the problems that can arise when divorce is on the table for the permanent resident. Give us a call to schedule a consultation to review the details of your case today.
Most Residents Not Affected
The truth is that most people holding green cards are not affected by divorce proceedings. If you are a lawful permanent resident holding a 10-year green card, you should be able to renew your green card after getting divorced without any issues by simply filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This form does not ask any questions that are related specifically to your marital status.
It is recommended that you change your name on your green card when filing your I-90 if you are like the majority of divorcees who retake their maiden names post divorce. This will require a divorce decree as proof for the name change. Just add a copy of your divorce decree to the application.
Conditional Green Card Status
If your green card was obtained through marriage to a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, then problems can arise when getting a divorce or an annulment. When green cards are granted for marital reasons, they are conditional two-year cards. This gives immigration officials time to ensure that the marriage is bona fide; it is during the conditional period that immigration determines if the marriage was entered into in good faith. Once the two-year period passes, then the couple files a Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence as well as any evidence that is required to prove that the marriage was “real” or bona fide.
Things to Consider
What may come into play if divorce is sought prior to the two-year period’s end is that it can cast a cloud of doubt and suspicion on the genuineness of the married couple. This can cause additional scrutiny to fall on the couple at a time when immigration officials are trying to determine if the marriage was entered into in order to circumvent the immigration process. Of course you can always present evidence to support the validity of your marriage, and a good immigration attorney can be a godsend when you’re making your case to UCSIS.
Before you make any decisions, it is a smart move to speak with our Salt Lake City green card attorney first. Give us a call at 801-656-9605 to set up a free, confidential case evaluation and weigh your legal options with our caring and compassionate staff.