Depending on the conditions on your green card, getting a divorce could impact your ability to keep your green card long-term. Call an immigration attorney to learn more.
Living legally within the United States as someone who was not born within this country is a process that is filled with paperwork, complications, and many legal hurdles. However, many people—often with the help of an experienced immigration attorney—do eventually obtain visas or even green cards, allowing them to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation.
One pathway to obtaining a green card in the United States is marriage to a U.S. citizen. This begs the question: Can a permanent resident lose their green card after a divorce? Here is what you should know.
Greed Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizen
As mentioned, one way to get a green card—which provides the holder with permanent resident status, allowing them to live, work, buy property, etc.—is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. One thing that is important to note about getting a green card based on marriage is that sometimes a two-year conditional green card is issued. The conditional green card is issued when the marriage has not already lasted for at least two years at the time of the application for the green card. The conditional green card will expire in two years unless the holder takes action to remove those conditions by filing a USCIS Form I-751 and proving that the marriage is ongoing and real. As such, if you get divorced while you have a conditional green card, it is likely that the green card will expire and will not be renewed — unless you can qualify for an exception, such as if you can demonstrate the marriage was entered into in good faith, you were the victim of domestic violence or abuse in the marriage, or you would suffer extreme hardship if the case were denied. In other words, a divorce does not necessarily mean a conditional resident will not be allowed to keep their green card. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine your options before your conditional (“two-year”) green card expires.
What Happens to My Green Card if I Get Divorced After Two Years?
If you have a conditional green card and get divorced, chances are high that your green card will expire and will not be renewed, unless you can seek a green card on other grounds or qualify for a waiver, such as when:
- you can demonstrate that the marriage terminated in divorce but you entered the marriage in good faith;
- you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your spouse;
- you would suffer extreme hardship if you were removed from the country; and/or
- other situations that may apply
If you have a permanent, not a conditional, green card, on the other hand, then the divorce should not impact your green card. If you have already removed the conditions from your green card, then your divorce should not significantly impact your ability to continue living and working lawfully within the United States.
Keep in mind that while your divorce will likely not impact your green card if you have already removed conditions from your green card due to a marriage of at least two years, it may impact your application for naturalization. If you are applying for naturalization, consult with an attorney.
Call Ozment Law, PLC Today
If you are seeking a green card or already have a green card and need to renew it or remove conditions, our experienced immigration attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee can help. We know how complicated navigating the system is, and we are here to support you throughout the process. To learn more, please reach out to our team by phone or online to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.