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If separated before immigrant wife get permanent green card, are you obligated to report this to Immigration?

West Sacramento, CA |

My son married Chinese woman from PRC. She got provisional green card based on their marriage, and is awaiting permanent green card. She came to US to learn English while he finished job in China. Wife cheated on him while she was in US and they recently separated. Wife is still in love with person she cheated on my son with, and will not break off contact, which was one of his conditions for working it out. He's broken up about it. Doesn't know what to do. Wants a divorce but she wants to wait until permanent green card in finalized. I think he is obligated to report the separation to Immigration. What do you think?

Son is still in China and has moved out of the apartment they cohabited for 4 years. He has a job coming up, but intends to be back here in the states at the end of summer at the latest, possibly to attend graduate school. Will they have an interview with Immigration before permanent green card is given, and if so, can he tell them then about his break up? Or should he do it ASAP?

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Attorney answers 4


No, he's not obligated to report it. He can divorce her, but he will still be obligated under the Affidavit of Support until certain events happen. I suggest that he read this article on the subject:



Thanks for that article, and information. It's very helpful. If he believes the marriage was just to get green card on her part, and he was the victim of fraud, would he still need to support her? Could he have the marriage dissolved or annulled? If she is guilty of fraud, why would they give her a permanent green card?

Brandon S. Gillin

Brandon S. Gillin


Assuming they get divorced, it will be up to her to prove that the marriage was not fraudulent at its inception. If she is unable to prove this, she will not be able to obtain a permanent green card, which means she will most likely need to go back to her home country. If she's forced to go back to her home country because of this (losing her LPR status), he will no longer obligated under the Affidavit of Support.


There is no such "obligation" for a spurned USC to "report" any such thing. Even if a disgruntled USC sends a letter to USCIS stating the couple no longer lives together, it will pretty much be ignored.

Your son's estranged wife can still (and probably will) remove the "condition" on her temporary green card by filing fr and obtaining a divorce and then filing Form I-751 by invoking one of the many exceptions to the joint filing requirement.

Your son should divorce and move on and be more careful next time. Sorry, but that's the reality.

Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.



I don't understand how she could get a permanent green card if she left him, and possibly tricked him into the marriage to get the green card. I thought green cards were difficult to obtain. What is "filing fr?"


He is not obligated to report his wife to USCIS. Nor should you. Your son might want to consult with an immigration attorney to better understand his options and the immigration consequences of divorce, not only for his wife but also for himself.


He has no such obligation. If he wants to file for divorce or wait, that is between him and his wife.

Heather L. Garvock Attorney Ellis Porter, PLC 2701 Troy Center Dr., 410 Troy, MI 48084 Phone: 248-519-9900 Fax: 248-519-9901 Email: For more information about current issues and developments in immigration law, visit my blog: The information I provide on my blog and Avvo is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney client relationship.

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