If your US residency status was the result of a marriage, then once your divorce is final, you also must deal with the additional concerns related to your green card status.
You are certainly not alone in this concern.
First of all, don’t worry: The status of your green card does not automatically change when your marital status does. However, there will likely be paperwork that you will need to complete and some administrative hoops to jump through in order to remove the conditions placed on your residency status for marriages lasting less than two years.
Many people marry in order to become US citizens. Because citizenship is not a legal reason to get married, U.S. Immigration services puts some checks in place to try to make sure that was not the only reason for the marriage in the first place. Put differently, when you get a divorce as a green card holder, doubts can arise about whether it was a valid marriage in the first place.
For the first two years of your marriage, certain conditions are in place regarding your residency status that require action on your part to have them removed. That’s right: Removal of these conditions does not happen automatically. The same applies for same-sex couples that are getting divorced.
In order to remove these conditions as a divorced person, you need to show the following in your 1-751 Form:
- You entered into your marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended in divorce or annulment; or
- You entered into your marriage in good faith, but either you or your children were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your resident spouse.
Some of the items you can use to show that you had a real marriage (supporting the “good faith” element listed above) include things like: joint bank accounts, photos from trips and vacations together, children’s birth certificates and even documentation of couples therapy sessions.
As with most immigration issues, the majority of the work related to removing the conditions placed on your residency status is made up of confusing and time-consuming paperwork. There are also additional requirements and requests that must be made when it comes to this type of application, such as requesting to waive the joint application requirement and showing that removal from the United States would cause extreme hardship.
For individuals dealing with domestic violence in their marriage, working with an attorney can help get you and your children the assistance and legal protection you need to feel safe, in addition to filing out the necessary paperwork to remain in the United States.
When it comes to your U.S. residency status and the possibility of deportation, you do not want to take a chance and make mistakes on your paperwork or miss important deadlines. If you have questions about your green card because of divorce, or other immigration issues, get in touch with Gastelum Law today. Time is of the essence in these cases, so pick up the phone and give us a call!
At Gastelum Law, we are here to assist with all of your immigration needs. We have been helping individuals in your very situation for more than 13 years and we can help with your divorce and your immigration petitions. We know how scary this time can be; the moment you hire us is the moment you can stop worrying about the legal aspects of your immigration and divorce. We look forward to working with you!