If you are a foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for a green card. This allows you to join your partner in the U.S. But what happens if your marriage ends in divorce? Can this pose a problem to your residency status?
As you may know, only a valid marriage qualifies an immigrant for U.S. residence. And since the USCIS are always on the lookout for green card fraud, a divorce can trigger close scrutiny of your case. How things turn out will largely depend on your green card application stage.
Understanding the link between divorce and your green card
Here is the good news: most often, divorce will not impact your residency status. If you have a 10-year green card at the time of the divorce, your green card may not be impacted in any way. However, if you divorce while on a conditional 2-year green card, then your green card will be impacted.
Divorcing while on the 2-year conditional green card
If your marriage comes to an end while on the conditional green card, you risk losing your green card altogether. Just like when your marriage was intact, you need to prove to the USCIS that the marriage for which you applied for the green card was indeed valid, even if you have since divorced. And as you can imagine, a divorce that happens just after obtaining your conditional green card can make it extremely difficult to prove that your marriage was genuine.
Divorcing before receiving the conditional green card
If you divorce before receiving the 2-year conditional green card, you will not receive your green card. This means that your petition will be denied on the basis that the permanent resident will no longer be sponsoring your quest.
Divorce may mean an end to the relationship. But it does not have to bring your permanent residency status to an end. Knowing your legal options can help you protect your right to remain in the country.