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How Does Divorce Affect Permanent Residency Status

How Does Divorce Affect Permanent Residency Status

If you've secured a green card and permanent residency status for yourself through marriage, you may be worried that a divorce will discourage your attempts to move to the United States. The good news is that this is not necessarily the case. While you may want to consult with an immigration lawyer, it is not a foregone conclusion that you will lose your permanent residency and be deported. You just need to be aware of certain things and file certain forms to maintain your immigration status.

What To Do If You Are Getting Divorced And Do Not Yet Have Your Green Card

You may be given conditional permanent residence if you file a waiver of termination when your marriage ends. If your green card application indicates that you are doing so as a result of marriage, that application will not be valid without this waiver. In order for this waiver to be accepted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you need to be able to prove that the marital union was valid through photographs, evidence of shared property, joint bills, leases, bank accounts and other evidence. Alternately, you can show that you would suffer hardship if you left, such as evidence of your ties to your community. Finally, you can show evidence of cruelty or abuse from your U.S. citizen spouse.

You may need to include any of this evidence in your waiver, or you may need to show it in an interview with an immigration officer.

What To Do If You Already Have Your Green Card

If you've already received a green card, you already have conditional permanent residence. The divorce will not affect your citizenship process as much. All you have to do is file Form I-751 before your green card expires. This form includes the waiver described above. You will need to provide proof that your marriage was a good faith union and not just a marriage for immigration reasons.

What To Do If You Have Unconditional Permanent Residence

The immigration step after you get your green card is known as unconditional permanent residence. This is the final step before citizenship. If your marriage ends while you have unconditional permanent residence, you may have to wait five years following the end of your marriage before you can become a U.S. citizen.

An immigration attorney can help you collect all the evidence you need and fill out any forms required by the USCIS. Contact a lawyer today!