Marriage-based green card holders often face special considerations before getting a divorce. This article outlines key considerations for such individuals.
Divorce with a Pending Green Card Application
An immigrant visa or status adjustment application, if based on marriage, will be terminated if the marriage ends before the visa or green card is issued. This does not affect applicants whose status is not based on marriage, such as employment-based green card applicants.
Divorce with a Conditional Green Card
An individual who obtained a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or green card holder may receive a 2-year conditional green card. In this case, the holder needs to file a Form I-751 to remove the conditions within 90 days before the conditional green card expires.
Generally, the Form I-751 has to be filed jointly with the petitioning spouse while the marriage is still in effect. However, it may be filed by the green card holder without their spouse either while a divorce is pending or after a divorce has been finalized, provided that the green card holder shows that they entered into the marriage in good faith. This requires submitting as many supporting documents as practically possible, such as joint lease and mortgage documents, joint financial records, and affidavits from third parties.
If the Form I-751 is filed while the divorce will pending, USCIS will need to receive the final divorce decree before the conditions can be lifted.
Divorce with an Unconditional Green Card
A holder of a 10-year unconditional green card is generally able to get a divorce without affecting their immigration status, but the bona fides of their marriage may still be scrutinized if and when they apply for naturalization as a U.S. citizen.
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