In the United States, immigration laws and regulations are complex and often subject to change. Many immigrants who come to the U.S. may face concerns and uncertainties, especially regarding issues such as divorce and its potential impact on their immigration status.
Immigrants may hold various types of visas or have different immigration statuses, such as lawful permanent residents (green card holders), temporary visa holders, refugees or asylum seekers. Each category has distinct rules and regulations that govern their stay in the country. Stay put for more on whether immigrants can be deported from the U.S. solely based on getting a divorce.
Divorce and immigration status
The act of divorcing itself does not trigger immediate removal proceedings or jeopardize one’s immigration status. However, there are some situations where a divorce may indirectly impact an immigrant’s status.
In cases where an immigrant obtained their green card through marriage, they may initially receive a conditional green card. This conditional status is granted when the marriage is less than two years old at the time of obtaining the green card. The immigrant may face potential challenges if the couple divorces during the conditional period.
To remove the conditions on their residency and obtain a permanent green card, the immigrant and their spouse must jointly file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This joint filing demonstrates that the marriage was entered in good faith. However, the immigrant may face difficulties if the marriage ends in divorce before the joint petition is filed.
How to avoid getting deported
While divorce does not lead to automatic deportation, it can trigger a review of an immigrant’s overall circumstances by immigration authorities. During the assessment, USCIS may examine the immigrant’s ties to the U.S., including their:
- Community involvement
- Family relationships
This is to determine whether they meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residency or other forms of legal status.
If the immigrant passes the assessment, they can apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. In such cases, they need to demonstrate that the marriage was entered into in good faith but subsequently terminated due to reasons beyond their control or due to domestic violence or abuse. This waiver allows the immigrant to file the petition independently.
Immigrants with conditional green cards obtained through marriage should be cautious, as divorce during the conditional period may complicate their path to permanent residency. Having legal guidance can help you as you seek to remain in the U.S.