How a divorce will affect your green card depends on the type of green card issued to you. A divorce will most likely not affect your status if you already have permanent residence. However, a divorce can undoubtedly impact your immigration process if you have a conditional green card.
The process to obtain permanent residence includes proving you entered into your marriage in good faith, and divorce within the two years period that you have your conditional green card may make this more challenging to prove. If you are granted a divorce decree that has any mention that the marriage was made in bad faith, your chances of receiving a permanent green card are essentially eliminated.
Your best chance at avoiding the immigration problems that can come with a divorce is to provide any documentation you have that the divorce happened for a reason other than marriage fraud, such as abuse or irreconcilable differences.
What Happens if I Get Divorced During the Green Card Application Process?
If you are in the middle of the process of getting your green card and getting a divorce, the application will stop and not progress any further. This will happen whether you’re applying for a marriage-based green card or if you were married to someone who is being sponsored for a green card by their employer.
Because divorce can stop the application for a green card process, it may be tempting not to tell USCIS about your divorce or pretend to be still married. However, this is not a good idea. Not disclosing your divorce status can count as immigration fraud, something about which the USCIS is very vigilant.
How Should I Prove My Marriage was Legitimate if I have Gotten a Divorce?
In order to prove to USCIS that your marriage was real and not just for the purpose of gaining a green card, you will need to provide joint financial records, evidence of any children you had together, proof you lived together, or that you went through marriage counseling before you divorced.
You will also need to provide a detailed written statement that explains why divorce was the only option for you. If the separation were due to irreconcilable differences, you would need to explain exactly what those differences were. If the divorce was due to abuse or cheating, you should also detail those actions by providing the court copies of your divorce papers.
How Can an Attorney Help?
If you are unsure if a divorce will affect your green card case or if a divorce was the result of your actions, you should consult with an immigration attorney. They can help you fill out the appropriate form or waivers and help set you on the path to eventual full citizenship.
For questions about divorce and the green card application process, or for any immigration help, call an experienced Californian immigration lawyer now at (408) 645-6395.