Experiencing a divorce can be an incredibly painful and stressful situation. When one spouse is a Conditional Permanent Resident, this burden can be even more intense. Oftentimes, they are left with questions of how their immigration status will be impacted by their conditional permanent residence and divorce. These questions can lead to fears of deportation or worries that their Green Card may be withdrawn.
At ZafiroLaw, we work with Conditional Green Card holders in the United States, helping them pursue permanent residence in the face of divorce. Through our focused and compassionate approach, we have assisted with numerous Conditional Green Card and divorce cases in the Seattle area. To learn more about how we can help you, consider scheduling a consultation with our office today at (206) 547-9906.
What Is a Conditional Green Card?
Under family-based immigration, the foreign-born spouses of United States citizens are able to obtain a Green Card based on marriage. If the marriage is less than two years old, however, the foreign-born spouse receives a Conditional Green Card rather than a Permanent Green Card. The Conditional Green Card signifies conditional permanent residency in the United States.
To remove the conditions on a Green Card and secure Lawful Permanent Resident status, United States immigration requires that:
- The marriage is authentic and done in good faith (meaning that the marriage was not solely for immigration benefits)
- The marriage lasted for a minimum of two years beyond approval of conditional residency
It should be noted that conditional permanent residency lasts for a period of two years, during which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is looking to confirm the validity of the marriage. After the period of conditional residency expires, the foreign-born spouse may petition for a Permanent Green Card, which lasts for ten years.
What Happens If You Get Divorced Under a Conditional Green Card?
When you apply to remove conditions from your Conditional Green Card, you are required to provide evidence that you and your partner are still married. But if you and your spouse obtained a final divorce decree during that time, how does that affect your conditional permanent residency?
To remove conditions from a Green Card and secure permanent residency, you are required to file Form I-751, also known as the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This form is a joint petition, meaning you and your spouse must complete and sign the form together. If you and your spouse divorce or obtain an annulment, however, the process changes.
When you get divorced under a Conditional Green Card, it is possible to file a waiver in Form I-751 when you and your partner are no longer married. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services looks at waivers closely, however, and often require a great deal of evidence to prove that your marriage was in good faith.
To prove that your marriage was in good faith, you will be asked to submit a range of evidence with your Form I-751 waiver. This evidence may include the following, for example:
- Joint financial documents
- Evidence that you sought support for your marriage, such as counseling
- Birth certificates of any children that you have together
- Proof that you and your ex-spouse cohabitated
- Court records detailing claims of domestic violence or abuse, if applicable
You will be required to file a statement regarding your divorce as well. Here, you will have the opportunity to provide details about the reason for your divorce. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services considers waivers on a case-by-case basis, meaning they will look at the specific evidence that you submit in order to make a decision. As such, the type of evidence that you submit to the USCIS is important. An experienced attorney at ZafiroLaw can help you navigate your Conditional Green Card and divorce, ensuring that the quality of your evidence meets the high standards of the USCIS.
Will I Lose My Conditional Green Card If I Get Divorced?
Many Conditional Green Card holders fear deportation after divorce, especially since their immigration status is based on their marriage to a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. As a person dealing with conditional permanent residence and divorce, you are likely worried about your immigration status.
If your marriage dissolves, will you lose your Conditional Green Card? Not necessarily, no. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is tasked with identifying fraudulent marriages. Therefore, as long as your marriage was made in good faith and you have strong enough evidence to support that claim, your petition to remove conditions on your Conditional Green Card may still be approved.
Will I Be Deported After My Divorce?
Getting divorced while you have conditional permanent residency status does not necessarily mean that you will be automatically deported from the United States. As long as you are able to submit the necessary evidence to prove that your marriage was authentic, it is possible to remain in the country.
It should be noted that if you and your partner divorce during the period of conditional permanent residency, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will likely take a closer look at your case than if you filed jointly. This does not automatically mean that you will be deported, however.
If the USCIS determines that your marriage was fraudulent and made only for the purpose of securing a Green Card, then you will likely be deported from the United States. If the USCIS can confirm that the marriage was authentic, then you will not be deported after your divorce. In this way, it is important to submit as much evidence as possible when completing the petition to remove conditions from your Conditional Green Card and divorce waiver.
Contact ZafiroLaw Today For Help With Your Conditional Green Card and Divorce
Making the decision to immigrate to the United States is no small feat. As you build a new life and home in the country, it is not uncommon for your marriage to be impacted. In some cases, the changes that come with immigrating to the country – alongside other challenges – may result in divorce. Managing divorce and conditional permanent residence is often daunting and stressful, leaving a person unsure of their status in the United States.
The team of knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorneys at ZafiroLaw understands how to navigate issues related to your Conditional Green Card and divorce. Experiencing divorce as a conditional permanent resident may be unsettling, but it does not necessarily mean that you must leave the United States and return to your country of origin. For more information about how your immigration status is impacted by your divorce, consider contacting our Seattle office at (206) 547-9906 today.