An extremely negative life occurrence is divorce. It’s emotionally draining, expensive, and may even have an impact on one’s immigration status in the US.

Permanent residents may face extra difficulties if they get divorced after getting their green card. Other times, though, it’s not a problem.

How Does Divorce Work?

divorce after green card

Divorce is a legal procedure used to dissolve a marriage between two people who are already married. It is also known as the dissolution of marriage and is, in essence, a legal procedure that dissolves a marriage before the passing of either spouse.

Green Card Marriage and Divorce

If a couple has been married for less than two years, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) typically attaches conditions to the green card they receive.

The essential requirement is that you continue to be wed to the same spouse who initially sponsored you for your green card. However, your immigration status can be affected if you divorce before the two years has passed.

Consult a lawyer if you want to continue living in the country with a conditional green card following a divorce. Your lawyer will submit Form I-751 and a waiver of the joint filing requirement to USCIS.

Normally, your spouse would have to file the petition on your behalf, therefore this is important. You can submit a petition without your spouse’s assistance thanks to a waiver.

You must demonstrate to USCIS that you married the person who sponsored your green card in good faith and that you intended to stay married to them. If you divorce within two years of getting married, it may be challenging to demonstrate this. As a result, you should speak with your lawyer to determine what kind of proof you can offer USCIS that will support your claim. You could wish to offer as much proof as you can that you entered the marriage sincerely.

Green Card Renewal After Divorce

green card and divorce

The majority of people with green cards are largely unaffected by divorce. Renewal of a green card upon divorce is simple for divorce after 10-year green card, or if you already have a 10-year green card and are a lawful permanent resident.

To renew or replace the green card, you must submit Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Your marital status is not specifically mentioned in any of the questions. Marriage status doesn’t immediately affect your immigration status once you’ve had a green card for ten years.

Divorce After Conditional Green Card

If you received your green card through marriage to a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, a divorce or annulment could cause issues. In these situations, USCIS gives a conditional green card for two years.

USCIS has time during the two-year period to assess the legitimacy of the marriage. Immigration law mandates that USCIS take extra measures in green card marriages to make sure the union was entered into voluntarily.

The couple must submit a joint petition (Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) and supporting documentation to remove the conditions of residence at the conclusion of this probationary term.

Continue To Support The Marriage’s Authenticity

The potential problem here is if a divorce questions the validity of the marriage. There is an option to waive the joint petition. After a divorce, the conditional resident may file Form I-751. USCIS, though, will examine the matter even more closely.

They want to confirm that you had sincere intentions when you agreed to get married. USCIS must specifically clarify that the marriage was not performed to evade immigration laws and obtain a green card through fraud.

The conditional resident will have to offer plenty of proof that the marriage was legitimate. USCIS understands that relationships can end for couples who were previously deeply in love and dedicated to one another. However, the onus of proving this reality rests with the conditional resident.

Waiving The Joint Filing Requirement When Filing

divorcing a green card holder

You shouldn’t be prevented from submitting your I-751 petition if you were divorced after receiving your conditional green card. In fact, you are able to prepare Form I-751 by waiving the requirement for joint filing (due to divorce after green card).

However, before submitting an I-751 with a waiver, we always advise that you consult with an immigration lawyer. The odds are against us.

An unsuccessful petition or failure to submit Form I-751 will probably result in removal procedures (deportation). Make sure you receive the appropriate guidance for your particular case.

Divorce after Obtaining a Green Card

A marriage can influence your eligibility for a green card in a number of different ways. A spouse may apply for permanent residency as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card). You might, however, be the spouse of another person who was sponsored.

Before Approval

The immigration procedure is terminated if a divorce takes place at any stage prior to the approval of a green card application. The marriage that qualified the spouse is ended by the divorce. Even if USCIS has previously granted the immigrant petition, this is still true.

After Approval

There is typically no cause for USCIS to evaluate your case in relation to your permanent resident status if you are divorced after receiving your green card.

A conditional resident with a two-year green card, however, faces additional difficulties as a result of a divorce, as was already mentioned.

Divorce that occurs after receiving a green card is highly important. The conditional resident must demonstrate to USCIS that the marriage was entered into in good faith and file Form I-751 with a waiver of the joint filing requirement in these situations.

Divorced permanent residents should be aware of how it impacts the naturalization procedure. You are giving USCIS a reason to review your file again even though you are qualified to apply for citizenship based on five years as a permanent resident.

Divorce Before Naturalization

Divorce that occurs after receiving a green card but before naturalization may or may not have an impact on the citizenship application process, depending on your situation.

The Requirements For Naturalization

If you are applying for naturalization based on a three-year marriage to a citizen of the United States, a divorce will limit your ability to submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

You must still be married at the time of naturalization even if your marriage has lasted more than three years. In order to qualify on this early basis, you must be married for three years prior to filing your N-400 application, and you must stay married until you receive your U.S. citizenship.

However, if you have been a permanent resident for five years, you can still be qualified to submit Form N-400. Your eligibility in this case is not based on a current marriage. Your ability to submit Form N-400 based on five years as a holder of a green card is unaffected by divorce.

Case Review During Naturalization

divorce immigration lawyer

Every person applying for naturalization should be aware of this. USCIS will go over your full immigration file once more if you submit Form N-400 to apply to become a citizen of the United States. Your marriage is a part of this.

USCIS may ask you to provide more proof if they discover any signs that you obtained your green card illegally. Any form of green card fraud is prohibited, including fraud committed through marriage.

The likelihood of a review during the naturalization procedure increases if a divorce occurs after a green card has been granted. In the naturalization interview, USCIS will often ask you a few questions concerning your marriage. Some applicants may be asked to submit more proof by USCIS.

USCIS may reject your application for citizenship if you are unable to provide sufficient supporting paperwork. Even worse, USCIS may send you to removal from the country proceedings in immigration court (deportation).

This is definitely the worst-case situation. However, candidates for citizenship must be aware that the USCIS will look into all of their immigration histories.

Can You Change Your Name On A Green Card Without Penalties After Divorce?

When you renew or replace your green card, you have the option of changing your name on it. During the divorce process, many divorcées decide to adopt their maiden names.

You may alter your name on the green card if you have a legal document (such as a divorce decree) to prove the change. Just make a note of the name change on Form I-90 and include a copy of the relevant legal documentation.

The Bottomline

A competent divorce and immigration attorney can assist you in anticipating issues with your case before they arise. Because the client hired a lawyer to assist them with the lawsuit, many cases were won.

Last updated on May 2, 2023