Citizenship, Marriage & Divorce
Marriage is a time of blessing in happiness in the U.S. about half of all marriages end in divorce. For immigrants who were married to a United States Citizen, divorce can place their immigration status in question. Fortunately, for real marriages, there is still hope.
- If you obtained your citizenship through marriage and you get divorced no need to worry, the divorce will not have an effect on your status.
- If you are applying for citizenship based on your marriage (within the 3 years) and you get divorced in the middle of the process you will no longer be eligible to become a citizen until you have been a Permanent Resident for 5 years (you will have to wait another 2 years).
- If you received your permanent residence for 2 years what is known as a conditional residence, you will have to remove the conditions on your residence prior to the expiration of that period. You will have to show that you are still married but if you are no longer married you will need to show that your marriage was real but ended in divorce. This will be more difficult, require more documentation but it is possible.
- If you were married to a United States Citizen and your marriage ended because your spouse was abusive you can apply for what is called VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) it is also available to men who have been abused. This will grant you a protection and eventually lead to you obtaining a green card.
- If your spouse was not abusive and you did not obtain a green card prior to the divorce you do not have any rights to an immigration status based on that divorce or the prior marriage, you should consult an immigration attorney to see if you may qualify for a status through some other avenue.
Divorce is difficult for everyone; it is expensive and an emotional rollercoaster. It means losing someone you believed was going to be in your life forever. Changing your day-to-day activity and dealing with additional stress. Fortunately, in most instances, it doesn’t need to ruin your immigration status as well.
Attorney at Law