The best thing for you to do would be to consult with an immigration lawyer in your area. If you divorce, there is no marriage and you won't be eligible for the green card. On the other hand, there are states that will not officially deem your separation as a precursor of divorce – and regardless of the separation, you might still be given your green card. The other scenario is that you filed for divorce before you were eligible to remove conditions on your conditional green card. Under the laws, every immigrant should... Loans for up to $35,000. If you entered without inspection, you should be careful to double-check if these exceptions protect you before you file a permanent residency application. If you are the primary beneficiary of an employment-based visa, for instance, you may continue with the green card application process. The expiration date on your Green Card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional permanent resident. Divorce in itself is quite an emotionally challenging event. You must file your Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately before your conditional residence expires if you are filing Form I-751 jointly with your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. After filing your waiver, you will get an I-797 form, a receipt of notice from USCIS, which will give you the right to maintain your resident status. Since you have marital problems, be open to talking about the causes and the … You can schedule an appointment with any of our immigration lawyers by just filling out this free contact form. Divorce before Unconditional Green Card Renewal Interview. Divorce is when a court of law formally dissolves a marriage, while a separation means married spouses are living apart, usually because of conflict in the marriage. This is true even if USCIS already approved the immigrant petition. It is within the director’s discretion to either approve your petition and restore your resident status or decide otherwise. Could I simply apply for a new conditional green card based on my new marriage, even before my current status expires? Both divorce and separation bring forth great scrutiny – but there are still some details that make them different in the eyes of the law. Therefore, this situation will require extra effort to prove that the marriage was legitimate from the start. In this instance, the best way to improve your chances of getting a green card is to consult an immigration lawyer. You will still need to submit Form I-751, but will have to include a request for a “waiver” of the joint filing requirement. In some states, formal separation may become a divorce after given a period of time. Some of the evidence to present while filing your waiver includes: Keep in mind, however, that your claims, regardless of how tenable, will still be put under intense scrutiny by the USCIS. You have filed for divorce before submitting form I-751. If you have been deemed as “primary beneficiary” for a work visa, then you may go on with the application. We have reliable immigration attorneys who have helped many of our clients get their green cards and maintain their permanent resident status after divorce or separation. However, if you are divorced from your citizen spouse, you will have to wait five years before you can be eligible for U.S. citizenship. The divorce dissolves the relationship that made the spouse eligible. Ordinarily, if you are married to a U.S. citizen, it takes just three years to be eligible for citizenship after the issuance of your marriage-based green card. As you can see, getting a divorce before your interview even takes place can turn into an actual roller coaster. If all goes well, you’ll be a permanent resident (green card holder) at the end of the interview. But because I am still in conditional resident status, I am afraid this might complicate things too much. Did you become divorced before filing the I-130 “Petition for Immediate Relative?” If so, unfortunately you are no longer eligible to apply for a green card. Nothing likely compares to the grief that comes with probably losing the love of your life. What Happens After Applying to Waive Joint Filing? In the case of divorce, the marriage has clearly ended – but in a separation, the couple is still technically together legally, with a chance that they might get back together. Note: To find out if you have a regular green card or a conditional green card, just take a look at the “Resident Since” date and the expiration date. If the marriage ended within two years of granting the conditional permanent residency, the non-U.S resident is at risk of losing the green card. The effect of the divorce on your green card status depends on whether you have a regular green card or a conditional green card. The marriage-based green card interview can happen in several of the stages of your residency in the U.S. Divorce affects your green card differently, depending on what stage your green card application is in. Divorce laws in different U.S. states also vary, so you will need to know what the law says in your state. There are consequences for late filing. You may need to present the certificate of your marriage to show that you have been married for a particular period of time. By knowing these differences, you will know exactly what step you should take next in your green card application process. If you overstay, you will be placed under “removal proceedings” and will have to answer to an immigration judge. As a result, separation does not automatically lead to a denial of your permanent residence application. The following actions can help you prepare for a smoother green card interview: Refresh your memories: Sit down together (or schedule an extended phone conversation) during the week before your interview and go over the key dates and events in the history of your relationship. If the USCIS remains convinced the marriage was entered into in good faith, it will remove the condition and the non-citizen will become an unconditional permanent resident. Normally you have to file the I-751 form jointly. If this happens, you can file the waiver of the joint filing requirement and file for permanent residence on your own. Before making a decision on your application, the immigration authorities prefer (with a few exceptions) to meet the applicant in person. Summons to appear at a hearing, which will allow you to “review and rebut” the evidence against you. Because it is such a sensitive situation, you need to be mentally ready for the interview. You should be candid with the interviewing officer. There are quite a few ways to keep you in the States – but in the ideal circumstance, you may want to cooperate with your spouse. You may not be able to file for a green card. This also means that the marriage-based green card application is still intact. However, the removal proceedings will first be reviewed by an immigration judge who will decide if you should be removed. The following are tips on how to prepare for the USCIS interview: If you divorce your spouse within the two years of your conditional resident status, you will need to file your waiver for the joint I-751 within 90 days before the expiration of your conditional resident status. To do this, you will need to file and submit a waiver for the I-751 joint petition. In this post, we’ll discuss the process of continuing with your green card acquisition after a divorce. 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