How Does A Divorce Affect My Immigration Status?

Depending on your situation, there is a chance that a divorce can cause you to lose your immigration status. For instance, if you became a lawful permanent resident (LPR), or a “green card” holder, as a result of your marriage to a U.S. citizen, a divorce could cause a problem for your LPR status. When you become an LPR prior to the second anniversary of marriage to a U.S. citizen, you are granted only conditional permanent residency. This conditional status remains for two years, in order to ensure that you maintain a bona fide relationship and marriage for at least two years. Ninety days prior to your second wedding anniversary, you and your spouse normally must file a joint petition to remove the condition from your LPR status. If you divorce prior to that date, you cannot file a joint petition to remove the condition. There are some circumstances, however, by which you still can remain in the U.S. One of the most common ways for an individual with conditional LPR status to remain in the U.S. is to request a waiver of the joint filing requirement to remove the condition from your LPR status. In doing so, you must be able to state that although you married in good faith, the marriage failed through no fault of your own. In this situation, you will have to provide evidence that you had a bona fide relationship with your former spouse both prior to and following the marriage that was not solely for immigration purposes. If you cannot provide this evidence, then you risk having your LPR status revoked, which means that you will not be able to remain in the U.S. If, however, you become an LPR and remain married to your spouse for at least two years and nine months, you can apply for naturalization. However, if you divorce before your naturalization process is complete, then you must wait an additional two years before you can become a citizen. Therefore, assuming you meet all other requirements, you can apply for citizenship four years and nine months after you receive LPR status. In this case, you still may have to provide evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that your marriage was bona fide. These are just a few of the rules that affect non-citizens who divorce in the U.S. at various times. There also are other situations where a person’s immigration status may be put at risk due to a divorce, such as if both spouses are non-citizens at the time of their divorce. As a result, it is essential that you get advice from an experienced immigration attorney if you are facing the prospect of divorce and you are a non-citizen. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we have represented the interests of countless clients who are facing deportation proceedings, but who wish to remain with their families in the United States. Fortunately, there are many remedies that may be available if you are facing deportation charges. We will aggressively investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, and help you settle upon the option that is best calculated to allow you and your family to live where you choose. Contact our experienced deportation defense attorneys today, and learn how we can help.

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