What Happens If You Divorce Before Getting a Green Card?
Divorce is an emotionally draining experience in and of itself. After all, you are divorcing the person with whom you have chosen to spend the rest of your life. Nothing compares to the heartbreak that comes with losing the person you love.
There is just one thing that might make this bad scenario even worse: getting divorced before your green card interview. But what if you get divorced right before your green card interview? Will you be compelled to return to your native land? Is there a way for you to stay in the US despite the fact that you are no longer married to the person who was intended to sponsor your visaYou are, without a doubt, in a difficult circumstance right now. However, we can assist you.
Is a Divorce a Barrier to Obtaining a Green Card?
If you obtained a visa using your partner's status, you are clearly at risk of being denied. The whole point of this visa was to keep you and your significant other close by, rather than being divided by countries. So, if the marriage breaks through, especially soon before your interview, your chances of obtaining a green card are jeopardized.
This, however, will be determined by your spouse's position. For example, suppose you married someone who is on an H1B visa and their application for adjustment of status was approved. Separation or divorce may preclude you from being their "dependent" if their priority date is not current. If this occurs, you may be unable to obtain a green card if your priority date is changed to "current."
Simply put, if you are in the US on a different visa, your green card application will not be affected. After all, if you're there on a work visa, it won't matter to them whether or not you're married. If you are a derivative of your spouse, on the other hand, you will have lost the only thing that made you eligible for the green card in the first place, which means you will be unable to continue with the application.
Following that, there are some steps you may take to avoid being disqualified — but this will mostly rely on the form of your marriage.
Is there a distinction between divorce and separation?
Both divorce and separation are subject to intense scrutiny, but there are significant differences in the eyes of the law that must be considered. Knowing the distinctions can help you figure out what steps to go next in your green card application.
For starters, divorce occurs when a family is legally split, whereas separation simply indicates that the couple is now living under separate roofs. The marriage has plainly ended in a divorce, but the pair is still officially together legally in a separation, with the possibility of reconciliation.
The pair is still considered married because their separation did not result in a divorce, which means their visa application is still valid. This allows you to file for I-751 as a couple, even if you are no longer married. You must do so within 90 days of your conditional resident status expiring. Make sure to provide papers demonstrating that you are still married legally.
Divorce before Your Green Card Interview
When you apply for permanent resident status, you begin the process of applying for a green card. If you divorce before your interview, the outcome will be determined by your U.S. admission status. It will depend on whether you are a "principal beneficiary" or a "derivative beneficiary" according to your position.
You may proceed with your application if you have been designated as the "principal beneficiary" for a work visa. As a result, if you are a "derivative," you will no longer be able to proceed with your application.
This is also dependent on the length of your marriage. Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not make you a permanent resident, although it can open a few avenues. You can petition for a waiver after legal separation if you've been married for at least two years, in which case you might try to get an adjustment of status (i.e. for an employment-based visa)
Is it Possible to Separate Before Your Green Card Interview?
Although separated couples can stay legally married, keeping your green card is not as straightforward as you might believe. Some states, for example, treat legal separation as if it were a divorce, owing to the belief that this is how the marriage will finish.
On the other hand, certain states will not consider your split to be a prelude to divorce – and you may still be granted your green card regardless of the separation. You will, however, need to show that you entered into the marriage in good faith and not solely to obtain a green card. You must also demonstrate that you attempted to reconcile with your partner prior to the separation (e.g. statements from a marriage counselor).
There are quite a few ways to keep you in the States – but in the ideal circumstance, you may want to cooperate with your spouse. This way, you may sign a joint waiver with the I-751 after you two have separated. If both of you are still on good terms and the marriage is still valid in the eyes of the law, then you might get a green card – as long as you prove at the interview that you entered in good faith.
What Should You Do If You Get Divorced After Getting a Green Card?
After your divorce, the first thing you should do is contact your attorney, who will be able to see every element of your case. Divorces create additional burdens on a conditional resident, giving them a two-year green card, which can be detrimental to the user. This is why you and your former spouse must file the Form I-751 together, demonstrating that you entered the marriage in good faith.
Divorce before an Interview for an Unconditional Green Card Renewal
If you were granted unconditional resident status before divorcing your spouse, the divorce will have no effect on your residency in the United States. The only way this may be affected is if you had any plans to apply for citizenship in the United States. Citizenship takes roughly three years in most situations, and you must be married to your spouse during that time. Otherwise, if you're divorced, you'll have to wait five years for citizenship, during which time USCIS inspectors would question whether or not your marriage was genuine.
I hope this information was useful. Complex immigration processing can be incredibly complicated and stressful for everyone. Before filing this application, you should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.
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