Not all marriages work out, and divorce becomes inevitable for some couples. Divorces upend lives and bring many challenges, and the burdens for people with pending immigration statuses could be enormous. A citizen of another country may marry a U.S. citizen living in Kentucky and apply for a green card, a colloquial term for approved lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. If the marriage breaks up and the spouses head for divorce, the person seeking LPR status based on the spousal relationship might have serious concerns.
Divorce and LPR petitions
A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may file a family petition for an immigrant spouse. The immigrant spouse could receive LPR status through the family-based petition but only receives a two-year conditional green card at first. The two-year requirement serves to address situations where someone tries to procure residency through a fraudulent marriage. If a marriage dissolves during the two-year conditional period, an immigrant spouse might find his or her status is not in jeopardy.
U.S. immigration law requires a conditional resident to file the necessary paperwork to remove conditions on residence. The law allows a conditional resident to file the paperwork without a spouse if the marriage ended due to divorce, annulment, or death.
Special considerations for LPR status
Immigration laws have provisions that may allow someone involved in a troubled marriage to move forward with removing conditions on a green card. For example, a conditional resident who suffers from domestic abuse could leave a spouse and file to remove the conditions. The same would be true when the children in the marriage suffer from abuse.
Submitting all forms and supporting documents on time becomes helpful when seeking to remove conditions of residence. Improper or incomplete forms could create delays or worse.