When you say, “I do,” you hope that you are in a relationship that is committed for a lifetime. That isn’t the scenario for thousands of couples each year though. While divorce is life-changing for many, it can be even more impactful for those who got married and are not U.S. citizens.
If you are worried about your immigration status after a divorce contact the team at Magilligan Law. Our experienced attorneys are here to talk with you and see how we can best help your situation.
Most non-residents can be given a conditional resident status if they marry a U.S. citizen. Immigration law, however, has caught on to people getting married to a U.S. citizen for the sole purpose of becoming a U.S. resident themselves, only to divorce a short time later. That’s why most non-residents who marry a U.S. citizen have to wait two years before they can apply for permanent residency. Additionally, most need to show that the marriage was in good faith by doing things such as making large purchases together, taking out loans together, and living together. If USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) believes that your marriage was a sham then you most likely won’t receive permanent residency if you file for divorce.
If after your divorce you still want to file for a green card while you’re a conditional resident you will need to file several pieces of paperwork. The first set of paperwork is Form I-751 (the form where you are petitioning to change the conditions of your resident status) and then a waiver of the usual requirement. These documents not only need to be signed by you but also your ex-spouse.
While USCIS is reviewing your paperwork, you may be issued a Form I-797. This would allow you to live and work in the U.S. while a final decision is being made about your status.
If you already have a green card, filing for divorce should not impact your residential status. However, you will have to wait five years instead of three to become a naturalized citizen.
Don’t Go Through Immigration Status Updates Alone
Having to go through a divorce and then worry about your immigration status can be scary to do alone. That’s why the team at Magilligan Law is here to help. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of the immigration process and will be there to guide you. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.