Monthly Archives: May 2018

How long after I get my green card can I divorce?

How long after I get my green card can I divorce?How long after I get my green card can I divorce? – Two types of green cards

How long after I get my green card can I divorce? is a popular question that many immigrants have in their minds when their blissful marriage unfortunately starts to break down. The answer to this question depends largely on the type of green card that was issued to the immigrant. There are two types of green cards: 1) a ten-year green card; and 2) a two-year conditional green card.

The type of green card that you have is written on the green card itself. If you look at the green card, you will see a “resident since” date and an “expiration date.”

If the difference between the two dates is 10 years, it means you have a regular green card.
If the difference between the two dates is 2 years, it means you have a conditional green card.

Divorce after getting a 10-year green card: What are the consequences?

If you have a 10-year green card, a divorce should have very little effect on your immigration status. You are not going to automatically lose the green card because of the divorce. However, in some circumstances if the divorce occurs shortly after you are approved for the green card, USCIS may suspect that your marriage was fraudulent. Marriage fraud is illegal and if USCIS can prove that your marriage was fake, it could start a deportation case against you to revoke the green card.

USCIS is not generally keeping track of all the marriages that end in a divorce after a 10- year green card is issued. USCIS usually finds out that your marriage ended in a divorce when you apply for U.S. citizenship or naturalization. You will have to write on the N-400 application how many times you were married, the date you were married and the date you obtained a divorce. You also must bring certified copies of divorce decrees to the citizenship interview with you. If the immigration officer sees that you were married many times and that each former spouse petitioned for you, he/she may start to believe that you were only getting married to get a green card. A reasonable explanation as to why the marriage ended in a divorce can quell doubts.Marriages usually breakdown because of abuse, incarceration, incompatibility, cheating and financial difficulty. Many people get divorced after obtaining a ten-year green card which is reflected in the high divorce rate in the United States. Despite this fact, many of these marriages were real. Some immigrant divorcees have successfully obtained U.S. citizenship.

Divorce after getting a two-year conditional green card: What you should know?

A conditional green card, also known as a 2-year green card, is issued to a married person who:

Has been sponsored for permanent residency by their U.S citizen or green card holder spouse
Has been married to their U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse for less than two years

A conditional green card holder has the same rights as a person who has a regular green card. The main difference between the two, aside from the shorter expiration date, is that within 90 days before the conditional green card expires, you must apply to remove the conditions on the green card or risk losing your green card status.

On a green card obtained through marriage, the conditions can be removed by filing form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions. If the couple is still married, both people will sign and file the form together. This is called “filing jointly.”

If your marriage ended in a divorce, you will have to file the form yourself by obtaining a “waiver” of the joint filing requirement. You should not file the bare form but it should be supported with sufficient evidence that shows that when you entered the marriage, you and your spouse intended to establish a life together. From the time you get married, you should start documenting your marriage. Bank statements, credit card bills, lease agreements, photographs at family gatherings and electric bills are some of the documents that you can use to prove that your marriage was real.

You will not automatically lose the conditional green card because of the divorce, however if you did not properly document your marriage, the immigration officer will question whether your marriage was real and you will have a hard time proving your case.

Should I hire a lawyer if I need to get a divorce and I have a green card?

A good immigration and divorce lawyer can help you foresee problems with your case before it occurs. Many cases are won because the client got a lawyer to help them with the case. When deciding if you should hire a lawyer, you will have to look at your finances to see if this is possible. The high fees that some lawyers charge is usually a turn off for many people because it is not affordable. You should make the decision based on whether you can afford to make a mistake with your case and risk being deported. This is where the lawyer is valuable. The lawyer can minimize your risk of being deported by preparing the case properly.

Chery Fletcher is a divorce and immigration attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida who has been helping immigrants through the green card and divorce process.

If you would like to get in touch with immigration and divorce attorney,  Cheryl Fletcher , call 561-507-5772 to get a fast consultation or fill in the contact form on the website: http://www. lawyerfletcher.com and we will call you right away.

Sources:

Fletcher Law Blog, “Divorce after permanent green card issued: How does this affect immigration status?”, Accessed May 30, 2018.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “After a Green Card is Granted” Accessed May 16, 2018.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Conditional Permanent Residence” Accessed May 16, 2018.

Divorce after permanent green card issued – How does this affect immigration status?

Divorce after  a permanent green card  is issued – How does this affect immigration status?

Getting a divorce after a permanent green card is issued happens frequently to many couples in the United States. The entire divorce process comes with a lot of uncertainty and it is especially important for the immigrant to know their legal rights when this unfortunate situation happens.

Divorce consequences for ten-year green card holders

The consequences to the immigrant are minimal if he or she gets divorced after the ten-year green card is issued. A ten-year green card is issued, in marriage-based cases, to the spouse of a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen based on certain circumstances. The marriage must be more than two years on the date that USCIS approves the case, even if the application was sent before the marriage reached the two-year mark. Once a ten-year green card is issued, there is only one higher immigration status that you can achieve and that is U.S. citizenship.
If you are still married to your spouse after getting the ten-year green card, then you only need to be a green card holder for three years to apply for U.S. citizenship. If you are divorced, then you will have to be a resident for five years before you can apply. There is no need to panic if you are divorced from your spouse and you want to become a U.S. citizen. There is nowhere on the N-400 application for your ex-spouse to sign and your spouse does not need to appear at the naturalization interview with you.

Removing conditions from two-year green card after divorce

Unlike ten-year green card holders, the immigration consequences for two-year green card holders can be very complicated, if a divorce occurs. A two-year green card is also called a conditional residence card. You cannot renew a two-year green card. Ninety days before the two-year green card expires, you need to apply to USCIS to remove the conditions, with one notable exception. You can file the I-751 petition to remove conditions before the 90-day window if your divorce is finalized any time after you were granted conditional residence. When it is time to file the I-751, if you and your spouse are still married, both parties will sign the I-751 application and file it. If the immigrant is no longer married, then he or she will need a waiver. This means that your spouse will not sign the application and you will need to tell USCIS the reason for the waiver.
According to USCIS, there are five different circumstances in which you can file the I-751 without your spouse:
1. You entered the marriage in good faith, but your spouse subsequently died;
2. You entered the marriage in good faith, but you have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by your petitioning spouse; or
3. Your conditional resident parent entered the marriage in good faith, but you have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by your parent’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or by your conditional resident parent; or
4. The termination of your status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.
5. You entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was later terminated due to divorce or annulment;

The last situation is most pertinent to this article. If you are divorced at the time you are filing the I-751, you will need to prove that you and your spouse entered into a good faith marriage and not to evade immigration laws. If you don’t file the I-751, you will automatically lose your conditional permanent resident status. You can then be deported, so this is a mistake you do not want to make.
In some circumstances, you may be able to file late and provide an explanation to USCIS why you were late. You should try to avoid filing late. On late applications, you are going to have to prove that failure to file was through no fault of your own and file a written explanation and request that USCIS excuse the late filing. You must demonstrate when you file the petition that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control and that the length of the delay was reasonable. What is important to note is that you must either be married or single at the time you are filing for conditional residence. Legal separation is considered married for USCIS purposes. If you are going to be filing without you spouse, you may need a fast divorce to avoid jeopardizing your immigration case.

Florida divorce process for green card holders

To obtain a divorce in Florida, you need to be a resident in the state for six months. You also need to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that your spouse is mentally incompetent. The divorce is not hard to get in Florida because it does not require any of the spouses to prove why the marriage is headed for a divorce. Only one spouse need to meet the six-month residency requirement. If there are minor children between you and your spouse, there will be need for a parenting plan and calculation of child support. If there is property between the spouses it should be divided 50/50. The divorce process can take as little as twenty days but some cases drag on for years depending on the issues involved.

How an Immigration and Divorce Attorney can help

A qualified immigration and divorce attorney can answer questions related to a divorce, after a green card is issued. This helps you avoid unnecessary mistakes that can put your case at risk. Chery Fletcher is a divorce and immigration attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida who has being helping immigrants through the green card and divorce process.

If you would like to get in touch with immigration and divorce attorney,  Cheryl Fletcher , call 561-507-5772 to get a fast consultation or fill in the contact form on the website and we will call you right away.

Sources: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “After a Green Card is Granted” Accessed May 16, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Conditional Permanent Residence” Accessed May 16, 2018

Go to Top