What You Need to Know About Marriage-Based Green Cards and Divorce

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What You Need to Know About Marriage-Based Green Cards and Divorce

If you are a foreign national who is getting married to an American citizen, you may be eligible to obtain a green card. However, for the first two years of your marriage, this green card will only confer conditional resident status. Indeed, near the end of the two-year conditional period, you, as a green card holder, are required to file an I-751 petition to have the conditions on your green card removed. As a general rule, your American citizen spouse must jointly file the I-751 petition with you.

However, unfortunately, it is a reality that not all marriage makes it to the two-year mark. If you are a green card holder who has (or is now considering getting) divorced before your I-751 petition has been approved, you need to speak to an experienced Chicago spouse/fiance visa attorney immediately. You will need to go through extra steps to preserve your right to lawfully live and work in the United States.

Obtaining an I-751 Divorce Waiver

If you are divorced, your American citizen ex-spouse can no longer file the I-751 petition with you, as is generally required by American immigration law. As such, you will need a waiver that permits you to forego this requirement. Fortunately, divorce waivers are available under the law. However, it must be noted, that obtaining an immigration divorce waiver is not easy. You will need to prove the following four things to American immigration officials:

  • You have a valid conditional green card;
  • You have copies of your divorce records;
  • You have reliable evidence that proves you marriage was of ‘good faith’; and
  • You have evidence showing that circumstances changed, which caused the divorce.

Immigration Officials are Worried About Marriage Fraud

If you get divorced before your conditional resident status period has ended, immigration officials will need to verify that you did not commit marriage fraud. Simply put, immigration-related marriage fraud occurs when someone gets married to an American citizen for the primary purposes of obtaining a green card, instead of for the purposes of furthering their relationship with their partner. Of course, getting divorced does not mean that your marriage was a fraud. The truth is that sometimes things change. However, you need to be prepared to receive heightened scrutiny from U.S. immigration officials.

Get Immigration Law Advice in Chicago, Illinois

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, our dedicated Chicago immigration lawyers have extensive experience handling marriage-based green card cases, including those involving I-751 waivers. To get immediate assistance with your case, please call our team today at (312) 332-2550. Immigration law consultations are always fully confidential.