SEP 08, 2022

What Happens If You Divorce an Immigrant?

Frances Arroyo
Frances Arroyo

CEO & Inmigration expert


Divorce is a stressful time of high emotions for any couple. After all, no one plans for a divorce at the start of their marriage. However, there is an added layer of uncertainty when one of the divorcees is an immigrant. In the US, immigrants are often able to live with their spouse through a marriage green card. If they and their spouse get a divorce, it may raise questions about their status in the country.

Los Angeles Legal Advocates has experience dealing with the complex and emotionally sensitive immigration law aspect of this situation. In today’s blog, let’s discuss what happens if you divorce an immigrant. 

How To Notify USCIS of Divorce

For many immigrants, marriage is not only a celebration of love but the beginning of their path to citizenship. Divorce will not make this process impossible if the green card is already approved, but it will change the process. That’s why the USCIS must be informed of the divorce, and why divorcees need to know how to notify the USCIS of divorce.

Typically, when an immigrant marries a US citizen, they are given a conditional green card that lasts for two years. At the end of a three year waiting period, they can file a Form I-750 Petition To Remove Conditions on Residence in order to become a permanent resident. If you are divorced, you can still do this, but you also need to request a waiver from the USCIS, allowing you to forego the usual requirement to file jointly with your spouse. Your waiver must include a statement as to the reason for the divorce, as well as proof that the marriage was done in good faith. In some cases, the immigrant may need to show that they were not at fault for the divorce. 

What Happens If You Divorce Before Your Green Card Interview?

So do you lose your green card status after divorce? Not necessarily, if your green card has already been granted. In most cases, if you divorce with a conditional green card, you can remain on the path to naturalized citizenship. You will need to notify the USCIS and request a waiver before filing Form I-750, and your wait time may be five years rather than three years. However, it is possible. But what happens if you divorce before your green card interview?

If your green card has not yet been granted at the time of your divorce, immigration proceedings stop. Even with an approved immigrant petition, if your green card has not been granted and your application was for a marriage based green card, you will likely no longer be eligible for permanent residency. You may have to return to your native country or apply for a green card under some other eligibility. Here, your immigration law attorneys at Los Angeles Legal Advocates can help you navigate these uncertain waters.

There’s no question that going through a divorce can be a stressful time, and the threat of losing your immigration status only makes it harder. Los Angeles Legal Advocates is here to ensure that your immigration process stays on track, no matter what unexpected changes might arise. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

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