What Happens if I Get a Divorce Before the End of my Two-Year Conditional Period?
While a divorce is difficult for any couple, it can become even more problematic for those in the middle of their immigration process.
When you have a marriage green card and apply for U.S. citizenship, the government looks closely at your immigration file for information regarding your marriage. If you go through a divorce or annulment during this process, it may trigger a complete re-examination of your case to determine if the marriage was legitimate to begin with or not.
Since your immigration is based on the marriage to a U.S. citizen, one of the conditions you have to be able to prove is that you have entered the marriage in good faith, that it is not fraudulent, and has not been arranged to get a green card. You have to prove this in order to get your initial two-year green card, but you'll have to prove it all over again in order to apply for your 10-year green card.
Should your divorce be finalized while you are still a conditional green card holder, it may be more challenging to prove to immigration that your marriage was legitimate from the start, as it ended so soon. However, you can still get your 10-year green card if you can prove your marriage was real despite divorcing.
You may file an I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on your permanent residence status without your spouse at any time after you are granted conditional status if:
You or your parent entered into the marriage in good faith, but your spouse or stepparent subsequently died.
You or your parent entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment.
You entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your spouse.
Your parent entered into the marriage in good faith, but you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by either your parent or your parent’s spouse; or
Termination of your status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.
You’ll want to consult with an attorney well-versed in both immigration and divorce law to ensure that your divorce paperwork will not cause problems for you with immigration afterward. Be sure to seek the counsel of an immigration lawyer right away!