What Happens to My Marriage Green Card if I Get Divorced?

Getting divorced is not at all uncommon in the United States. Couples get married with the best of intentions and hopes for the future, only to find unanticipated problems that make their relationship untenable. While the process of divorce is painful for most people, for those who are in the United States with a marriage green card there is an additional layer of complexity. Here is what you need to know about how your divorce will impact your citizenship status.

The first thing that you need to know is that if you have not yet completed the process and have not yet been granted a marriage green card, your divorce will bring the entire process to a screeching halt. The implications are enough to make some people consider waiting before completing the divorce process, but doing so puts you at risk of being accused of immigration fraud.

If you already hold a marriage green card things shift, though the extent to which they get easier depends upon whether you have the permanent renewable green card that is issued to people who have been married for at least two years before the card is issued, or the conditional two-year green card issued to people who have been married for less than two years at the time the card is issued.

A conditional green card holder can ask for conditions to be lifted two years after they arrive in the U.S., but in order for that to happen they have to prove that they are still married. This requirement can be waived if you can show that your marriage was genuine and entered into in good faith. This is generally done by providing proof of having had children, or having lived together and having shared financial records, or of having sought marriage counseling. You may also need to explain the reasons for your divorce.

If you have a permanent green card things are much simpler. Though the card needs to be renewed every ten years, there will be no questions as to marital status.

Though divorcing while holding a marriage green card can make the process more complicated, it does not necessarily mean that you will lose your status. To make sure that you are well protected and following the legal process, consult with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney today.