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.