Immigrating to the United States can be a long and complicated process. If you are a foreign national who is legally married to an American citizen, you may be relieved to learn that you can join them in the U.S.
But not all marriages last a lifetime. If your marriage to the U.S. national ends, you might want to know how this will impact your residency status.
The link between your marriage and the green card
Generally, the fate of your post-divorce residency status depends on the duration of your marriage. For instance, if you have been married for at least 10 years, a divorce may not impact your green card in any way. However, things will be a little bit different if your marriage ends while you are on the 2-year conditional visa.
Divorcing while on a conditional green card
When you marry a U.S. national, you will be issued a 2-year conditional green card. Upon the expiry of this green card, you and your spouse will need to prove that you are still married. To this effect, you both must file a Petition to Remove Conditions (also known as Form I – 751).
Since this is a joint petition, you will obviously have a difficult time converting to a permanent green card if you divorce during the 2-year period. The USCIS will have questions regarding the validity of your short-lived marriage. While you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement, you will definitely have to convince the USCIS that you did not commit marriage fraud.
Safeguarding your interests
Divorce is, in and of itself, stressful. Add to this the fear of losing your residency and you can be devastated. Learning more about marriage and fiancé visa laws can help you protect your rights to remain in the country after the divorce.