Are you currently in the United States on a visa that was granted to you
based on your spouse’s application or citizenship? If so, your immigration
status may be affected in the event that you should ever divorce or separate
from your spouse. Exactly
how your immigration status will be affected will vary depending on the specifics
of your situation.
Divorce for Conditional Residents
If you used your spouse’s status as an American citizen or lawful
permanent resident to immigrate to the United States within two years
of your marriage, you are considered a “conditional resident.”
Conditional resident status will last for two years, after which time
you must file Form I-751 with the USCIS to remove the conditions of your
residence. While this form is typically filed by both spouses with proof
of the couple’s marriage, you may still be able to file an I-751
on your own if you can show that you were married in good faith and intended
to live together as spouses when you were married.
While you will not lose your
green card by divorcing your spouse, you may instead be forced to endure a longer
waiting period before applying for
naturalization. If divorced, you will need to wait five years, rather than three.
What If My Status Depends on My Spouse’s Status?
These situations can become more complicated in the event that your immigration
status is dependent on your spouse’s current visa or application.
Say, for example, you are married to an
H-1B visa holder who has an approved adjustment of status application. If you divorce
them before the priority date their application becomes current, your
status as a “dependent” may be compromised, stripping you
of the ability to obtain a green card under their application.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation – What Is the Difference?
Another major factor which dictates whether or not your immigration status
will be affected is whether you are separated or officially divorced.
While a divorce marks a legal end to a marriage, a separation will usually
allow a couple to live apart from each other while still enjoying some
of the benefits of being legally married. In some states, legal separations
may be converted to divorces after a certain amount of time has passed.
Since these laws will vary from state, it is imperative you consult with
a knowledgeable attorney to understand your legal options.
At USILaw, our Montgomery County immigration attorneys have provided premier-quality
legal guidance to countless individuals and business throughout the globe
on a variety of immigration-related matters. Discuss your situation with
us by calling our office today at