Can I Get My Green Card After Divorce?
How Divorce May Effect Your Immigration Status
Worried about your green card being revoked, or even being deported because of an impending divorce? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what happens to a permanent resident’s immigration status after divorce, but it is possible that your green card could be revoked if it was granted conditionally. The underlying issue is that U.S. immigration laws make it clear that only legitimate marriages are valid under the law, and those which are arranged for the sake of convenience or for any other reason to circumvent the law are not.
Green Cards and Renewing After Divorce
The vast majority of green card holders are safe in the event of a divorce and do not have to worry about the revocation of their permanent resident status or deportation back to their home country. If you are already a permanent resident and have a 10-year green card, renewing it after your divorce should be uneventful (unless there’s a finding of fraud for obtaining the underlying green card through marriage to that US citizen). Those who are permanent residents and get divorced only need to file Form I-90, an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to renew their permanent residency status. This form doesn’t directly ask any questions regarding your marital status.
Conditional Green Cards and Divorce
If you only have a conditional green card and get divorced, a divorce may impact your immigration status, especially if you got your conditional green card through marriage. Conditional green cards are often offered when a person marries a non-U.S. citizen and is granted permission to reside in the country for a period of 2 years, before removal of conditions. However, not all marriages last for two years, in which case you’ll be left wondering what your next move should be, literally. We understand your frustration and have advice for how you may be able to remove conditions on your green card and stay in the U.S. permanently and legally.
Removal of Conditions Eligibility
You may apply to remove the conditions on your green card if you entered your marriage in good faith, meaning the marriage was not fraudulent. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states the four situations regarding a spouse in which you may apply to have the conditions on a 2-year green card removed. They include:
- You are still married to the legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen at the end of the initial 2-year period, often called a “joint filing” to remove conditions
- If you were married in good faith (not fraudulently) and the spouse dies within the 2-year period
- If you or your children were the victim of extreme hardship and/or battery at the hands of your spouse
- If you entered the marriage in good faith but terminated it through annulment or divorce
How to Keep Your Green Card After Divorce
In order to keep your green card after divorcing a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, you’ll need to prove to USCIS that your marriage was valid, or bona fide. At this stage, it’s extremely important to have a knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you remove the conditions of your green card through a waiver application, which is called Form I-751, removal of conditions application based on waiver. If your divorce isn’t yet final when the form is due, you will definitely want the help of a competent lawyer to have the best odds at being granted permanent residence.
Immigration law requires USCIS to ensure your marriage was entered in good faith. The potential issue of a marriage lasting less than 2 years is that it casts doubts on the legitimacy of the marriage. The conditional resident will need to, if true, provide ample evidence showing the marriage was bona fide and you were once in a devoted relationship before it fell apart and you filed for divorce.
Worried About Your Immigration Status? Contact The Modi Law Firm, PLLC for Help.
With the stakes so high, it benefits you to consult with an immigration attorney before filing the I-751 with a waiver. We handle cases involving obtaining asylum, visas, citizenship, and more. To learn more about the cases we handle and how we can help you, contact us at The Modi Law Firm, PLLC today for a consultation.
Contact us today to learn more, or call (832) 514-4030 to speak to our skilled immigration lawyers in Houston.