Divorce is a tough time for families but when it falls under terms of immigration law, it can be even more difficult. Most immigrants worry that filing for a divorce or legal separation will put their green card status in jeopardy. This varies on a case-by-case scenario. There are some general steps that immigrants can take to secure a permanent green card after getting divorced. However, remember that it is always best to speak with an immigration lawyer to learn the full extent of your rights.
Conditional Green Card
If you have been granted a US residence as a result of marrying a US citizen, you are eligible to receive a conditional green card valid for a period of two years. Unfortunately, some marriages do not last for the full-two year requirement, but that does not mean you will be denied a permanent green card. If you entered your marriage in good faith, yet your marriage has been terminated due to a divorce or legal separation, you can file to have the green card conditions removed with evidence submitted to support your claim. An immigration attorney will help you determine what your best legal options are.
Types of Evidence
As stated, you will need to submit evidence to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) that back up the claim that the divorce was of no fault of your own. Some examples of evidence include:
• Marriage Counseling – This should include documents of the counseling sessions that detail your attempt to reconcile with your ex-spouse. If there is an effort on your side to seek counseling and attempt to reconcile, the USCIS could see that the marriage was legitimate, and that you bear no fault for the termination of your marriage.
• The Burden of Fault Lies with Your Ex-Spouse – This pertains to divorces caused by imprisonment, alleged adultery, assault and battery, or other relevant reasons. Evidence will include affidavits from the courts or the parties in your life who are familiar with the situation (friends, family, employers, landlords, medical providers, etc…).
• No-fault Divorce – This includes disagreements related to irreconcilable differences, such as finances, child rearing, etc…
Other types of evidence include photos of you and your ex-spouse, text messages, social media messages, and other forms of communication between you and your ex-spouse. You should also provide copies of legal documents that list you as the emergency contact or beneficiary for your ex-spouse. A good immigration attorney will be able to think outside the box and help you produce additional evidence to prove a bona fide marriage did, in fact, exist..
The removal of conditions for a permanent green card status is difficult enough for married couples, which makes it even more difficult for people who are divorced or legally separated. It is not, however, impossible. Contact a professional immigration lawyer to help you obtain your permanent green card without conditions, even after you have been divorced.
Keep in mind there are time frames and important dates that you must file within, so do not hesitate - contact an immigration attorney today and learn all of your options!
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