There are a lot of people who get United States green cards due to getting married to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident. However, getting a divorce after green card the sponsor applied for can end up affecting your immigration status.
This blog explains what happens when you get a divorce after getting a green card within the various stages of the process, we will go over what you are able to do about your specific situation, and will give you the guidance you need to figure out your future immigration status.
What Happens If You Get a Divorce After Getting a Green Card?
Having a United States green card allows you to live and work anywhere in the U.S. However, there are some things that can affect your immigration status, and divorce is definitley one of them. When you marry someone from the United States and you receive a green card and then you decide to divorce your spouse who sponsore you, it is possible that your immigration status will likely change.
You can almost gauarantee it will change if you divorce your spouse before you are even approved for the green card, or right after you get the green card and before you were able to change the conditions on it.
Keep reading to learn more about the following situations and what happens when they occur.
Before Green Card Approval After Your Application
If you happen to get a divorce from your spouse after your spouse has applied for a green card for you, but you get a divorce before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves your application for a green card, you won’t be able to get a green card.
Once you get the divorce, the whole immigration process comes to a halt, and that means you will have to move back to your home country. This is because you were only qualified for the green card because you were married to your spouse, and since you have ended the relationship or your spouse has, you will no longer be able to qualify for a green card.
And even if the U.S. Citenship and Immigration Services approves your petition for a green card but has yet to issue you the green card, you won’t be able to remain in the United States. Without the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issuing you the green card your immigration status won’t be valid.
However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does recognize certain circumstances. For instance, if you happen to be a victim of battery or extreme vilonence by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, you might be able to continue the immigration process without them knowing about it and without their permission.
This is what is referred to as self-petitioning, and if you do qualify for it, you need to talk with a lawyer immediately. Your attorney will walk you through the entire process and will be able to explain to you your options as a victim of domestic battery or extreme cruelty.
You should also be aware of the fact that you won’t need to provide any police reports or medical records to show that you have expereinced battery or extreme cruelty; you need to explain your entire situation to your immigration lawyer before going any further.
If you have already established a life in the United States, you might be able to qualify to get a green card in a differernt category. For instance, you might be able to qualify based on the following:
- You have another family like relationship with a different U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- You’re employed.
- Refugee or asylee status
- You have a membership in a special immigrant category.
If you happen to belong in one of these categories, it would be in your best interest to speak to an immigration lawyer immediatley. Your lawyer might be able to find a way for you to receive a green card.
Getting a Divorce After Getting a Green Card but Before Conditions are Removed
Typically, when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issue a green card to an individual who has been married less that two years, that specific green card will have conditions. One of the conditions is that you have to stay married to your spouse.
However, if you end up getting a divorce before the two years have taken place, your immigration status may be affected. If you want to stay in the United States with the use of a conditional green card you will need to talk with an immigration attorney.
Your immigration attorney will have to file a Form I-751 with the Untied States and Immigration Services and also have it have a waiver for the joint filing requirement. They have to do this because usually, your spouse will have to peition for you.
Having the waiver allows you to be able to file a petition without needing the cooperation of your spouse. You will need to show the USCIS that you started the marriage with good faith and that you were planning on staying married to the person that sponsored you to get a green card.
However, if you end up getting a divorce before the two years is up, it can be hard to show this, so you will need to talk with your immigration attorney to see what kind of evidence you will need to provide that will help you keep your green card.
Getting a Divorce After Getting a 10-Year Green Card
Usually, the USCIS won’t care if you divorce your spouse after you’ve recieved a 10-year green card. This will be your permanent green card, and it’s what you will need to have if you decide to apply for Untied States citizenship.
However, you should know that until you are actually a naturalized United States citizen, the USCIS can essentially look at your case file and they can determine whether you only married to recieve a green card to obtain immigration benefit.