Divorce can be stressful. Not only are you forced to deal with the emotional toll taken by the untangling of your life from your spouse’s, but there are also very real financial ramifications. Property division, child support and alimony can all come into play. While you try to cope with the struggles related to those common divorce issues, you may find yourself questioning how, if at all, will divorce affect your immigration status.
Can divorce impact your immigration status?
The answer to this question depends on your facts and situation.
If you marry a United States Citizen and are found to be in a bonafide marital relationship after you are interviewed, you will be granted conditional resident status for a period of 2 years. If during the first 2 years of marriage, you experience marital problems, then it may affect your legal status in the US. If you experience marital problems, separation while holding conditional status, your US citizen spouse abuses or leaves you and or files for divorce, and you would like to continue to reside in the US, the burden of proof falls on the immigrant. There are 4 basis for a waiver of the conditional status: 1. Divorce: you entered the marriage in good faith and your US citizen spouse decides to leave you; 2. Death of your US citizen spouse; 3. Abuse by US citizen spouse. 4. Extreme hardship: if your removal will cause you extreme hardship.
- Good Faith: To demonstrate that good faith, you’ll probably want to present evidence that you and your spouse intended to remain married for a significant period of time and that you acted as a normal married couple, including having joint accounts and insurance coverage. Therefore, if you’re in this situation, you’ll want to make sure that you’re gathering records that are relevant to your marriage and perhaps even ask your spouse if they are willing to provide a statement on your behalf with regard to the intentions of the marriage.
- Death of your US citizen spouse: you have 2 years to file a widow provision application. If you do not file in a timely manner, you will lose the ability to obtain your permanent residency.
- Abuse wavier by US citizen spouse to you are your dependents; must be supported by a licensed Psychologist who affirms and assesses that there was abuse in the relationship. Abuse can be emotional, financial, physical and must be supported by facts and evidence.
- If you can show that your removal from the US will cause you and or your dependents extreme hardship then a waiver may be granted, examples include, war, in the home country, inability to return for political, religious reasons, social group persecution, long term investments in the US etc.