If you are in America because your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident, it’s important that you consider your own situation before applying for a divorce. If you don’t yet have a green card but file for divorce, the immigration process could stop before it’s processed.
Getting a divorce won’t change your status if you are a permanent resident, but if you aren’t, then you could see changes that mean you need to apply for a different visa or leave the country.
What happens if you divorce while you’re a permanent resident?
If you divorce while you have a permanent residency, you won’t have to worry about leaving the country. You are already a permanent resident and have a right to stay. However, if you are still waiting to apply for permanent residency, you should know that your spouse could take actions that would harm your case. For example, if they withdraw their sponsorship and you have no way to support yourself, then that could negatively impact your case.
Remember that you have a green card that is conditional for the first two years of your marriage. You have to apply for another to remove the conditions on your residency. Your spouse also has to sign this application, so if you divorce before you send it, then you could run into problems.
If your marriage doesn’t last the initial two years, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services could rightfully deny you access to a permanent green card. There are exceptions, though, so if you are dealing with domestic violence, abandonment or other major concerns, it’s a good idea to look into your legal options before you file for divorce.
What should you do if your spouse accuses you of marrying them for a green card?
If you are divorcing because your spouse has accused you of marrying them just to become a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, take those accusations seriously. If those allegations make it to the USCIS, you could run into problems when you’re trying to get your permanent residency.
Every case is different. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, it’s best to learn more about the immigration policy and your legal rights before doing so.