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Will a Divorce Impact My Immigration Status?

Will a Divorce Impact My Immigration Status?

Date: Aug 30, 2022
In: Citizenship

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Will a Divorce Impact My Immigration Status?

If you are going through a divorce, you may have questions about divorce proceedings in California and how this process will impact your future. It is common to have concerns about factors such as debt distribution, property division, and what will happen to any assets. Additionally, individuals whose immigration status changed upon marriage may worry that their status will not be valid following their divorce. At Miranda, Magden, & Miranda, LLP, we are here to help individuals in California understand how divorce impacts their immigration status and provide legal guidance. 

How Does Marriage Impact an Immigrant’s Residency?

Whether or not a divorce will impact your immigration status is dependent on different factors. If an individual is a current U.S. citizen, getting a divorce will not affect your immigration status. However, if an individual is not currently a citizen, there is a risk of losing, or at least complicating, their immigration process due to the divorce. 

If an individual establishes U.S. residency through marriage, and their permanent resident status was obtain less than two years from the date of the marriage, they are considered a conditional resident of the United States. This individual will be issued a conditional green card. A conditional green card grants the same rights as a traditional green card, meaning that an individual is permitted to live and work in the U.S.; however, a conditional green card is only valid for two years, and an individual, along with their spouse, must file for a permanent green card (10-year card) within 90 days of this conditional residence period expiration, if they intend to continue living in the U.S. as a permanent resident. There are special circumstances in which the immigrant can file for the removal of conditional residents on their own, and outside of this 90-day period, but these rules are complicated.

Can My Spouse Affect My Green Card?

During a divorce, your spouse could potentially impact the status of your green card. If the spouse is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, they could attempt to cancel the I-130 form. An I-130 form is filled out by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, an in a marriage situation, this would typically be the spouse wishing to establish U.S. residency for their partner. This verifies their relationship to the individual requesting residency. If a couple is divorcing, the U.S. citizen may want to withdraw this form. The current stage of the I-130 process can impact the status of an individual’s immigration:

  • If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services receives a request to withdraw the petition before they have approved the immigrant visa/green card, the application is likely to be denied, and an individual will not be permitted to immigrate as the spouse of the Petitioner. Note: If the immigrant suffered abuse in the relationship, there may be ways for the immigration to become their own Petitioner.
  • If a green card has already been issued to an individual, a withdrawal petition will likely not impact your immigration status. However, if it is determined that an individual has fraudulently received their status, they could face deportation.

If an individual has transitioned from conditional to permanent residence, going through a divorce will not impact their immigration status as long as no fraud has occurred. However, it could impact how long it takes to become a naturalized citizen, which typically moves from three to five years. 

Contact Our Team Today

If you have questions about divorce and your immigration status, contact our team today. We will use our knowledge and experience to advise you of the best possible course of action. 

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