How a Divorce Can Impact Your Non-Resident Immigration Status

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How a Divorce Can Impact Your Non-Resident Immigration Status

Couples who marry generally contemplate spending all their lives together as a married couple, and hopefully with children they raise together. However, the reality of life is that many marriages end in divorce, bringing about uncertainties, heartache, and other complications. This is especially true if you are a non-resident divorcing a U.S. citizen. 

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we can analyze your situation and give you specific legal advice as to how divorcing may impact your non-resident immigration status. We are based in Chicago, but we help clients throughout Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

What Will Happen?

Getting divorced as a non-resident does not mean you will be deported immediately – rather, it brings about complications to your status that you should know about and be prepared to cope with.

What the complications are and how that may impact your non-immigrant status depends on your specific non-immigrant status, but the most affected are conditional residents and dependents of principal visa holders. 

If you have a conditional residency green card, the law provides that you can file a joint application with your spouse 90 days before the expiration of the two-year period to remove the conditional status and become a regular lawfully admitted permanent resident (permanent green card holder).

To do this, you will need to file your application along with the following items:

  • Divorce Decree
  • Proof your marriage was entered into in good faith and not a sham marriage
  • Reason or reasons why you divorced

An immigration officer will review the evidence and information in your file and decide whether to approve the petition to remove conditions or not. If the petition is approved, that’s it – you are a regular permanent resident from that point on.

If the petition is denied, you will likely be placed in removal or deportation proceedings, where you will have to defend yourself before an Immigration Judge against government efforts to have you deported.

If you are contemplating divorce or even if you have divorced already and now wish to address your immigration status, it is best to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney right away who can advise you on your best options for the way forward to avoid being placed in removal or deportation proceedings.

Dependent Visa Holders

If you have a visa dependent on your spouse, such as H and F visas for spouses, your immigration status will be lost once your divorce is finalized. Your best option under these circumstances is to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. The lawyer will review your facts and circumstances and determine what other options you may have that could help you remain in the United States with a valid immigration status.

A Chicago Immigration Lawyer Can Help

The possibilities are numerous if you are getting divorced as a non-resident, so it is important that you seek consultation with an experienced immigration attorney immediately. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we handle cases like these and are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.