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Does Divorce Affect Your Permanent Residency Status?


Here in South Florida, a substantial percentage of children and young adults have at least one parent born outside the United States; at least one parent is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and one parent might have gotten permanent residency status upon marrying the other parent.  Despite stereotypes about opportunistic singles who just want to marry you to get a green card and then dump you as soon as they have permanent resident status, most people who apply for a green card shortly after marrying a U.S. citizen have every intention of staying married for the long haul.  Marriages between a U.S. citizen and an immigrant who attained permanent residency status through the marriage have the same chance of success or failure as marriages between spouses of any other immigration status.  Despite this, once you apply for a green card, you never truly feel settled until you get your citizenship.  If you get divorced before you become a naturalized U.S. citizen, the worry is always there that USCIS will think that you just married your spouse for a green card and that your ex will accuse you of marriage fraud.  If you are a U.S. permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen and are considering divorce, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Conditional and Permanent Green Cards

If you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, such as a student visa, visitor visa, or fiancé visa, you may adjust your status to permanent residency as soon as you marry your U.S. citizen spouse.  You will then receive a conditional green card, which is valid for two years.  At the end of the two years, you may apply to remove the conditions, at which time you will receive a permanent green card, which is valid for ten years, and which you may renew if it is about to expire.  This two-year period of conditional permanent residency status is to ensure that the marriage is genuine and not simply a matter of the foreign spouse trying to get a green card.

Do You Lose Your Permanent Resident Status If You Divorce When You Have a Conditional Green Card?

If you divorce when you have a permanent green card, divorce will not affect your permanent residency status.  If you divorce when you have a conditional green card, you do not automatically lose your green card, even though your spouse may try to scare you into thinking that you will.  The application to remove conditions from a conditional green card must be filed by both spouses.  Therefore, you will need to apply for a waiver of this requirement if you divorced while residing in the United States with a conditional green card; you should work with both an immigration lawyer and a family law attorney.

Contact Schwartz | White About Divorce After a Whirlwind Marriage

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you are getting divorced after less than two years of marriage.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.

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