Can a Lawful Permanent Resident Lose Their U.S. Green Card

Getting a divorce or having your marriage nullified can pose a problem if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The matter in question is whether a divorce casts uncertainty on whether the marriage was real in the first place as opposed to a fraud committed in order to obtain a green card. U.S. immigration laws state very clearly that only genuine, valid marriages qualify an immigrant for U.S. residence.

The good news is that nowhere does the U.S. immigration laws state that once people are divorced or their marriage declared null and void, their efforts to get a U.S. green card are automatically over. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acknowledges that even couples who were once in love and committed to each other can have their relationship fall apart.

Nonetheless, it is true that, since USCIS is always on the alert for fraudulent marriages, a divorce can cause USCIS to do a second round of critical observation on a particular case.

Divorce After Obtaining An I-130 Approval Visa Petition

The visa petition simply begins the immigration process, without providing the immigrant any rights to remain in the U.S. or even be admitted there. Given that the design of a marriage-based visa is to unite a couple in the U.S. it would make no sense to grant it after the couple is no longer a couple.

The same could be true if an immigrant has already submitted an immigrant visa petition for a U.S. green card, but the case has not proceeded to an interview nor has it been approved. So, if your marriage is terminated ending in divorce at this stage you will not be able to proceed toward obtaining a U.S. immigration benefit.

Divorce After Acquiring An Approval for U.S. Permanent Residence

Once you have already effectively applied for permanent residence (U.S. green card), USCIS has no reason to re-examine your application.

Take note of that, if and when you later file for U.S. Citizenship through Naturalization, you will be giving USCIS a reason to take another closer look at your application.

Divorce After Getting Conditional Residence

After having applied for your green card and you received an approval for conditional residence (that is, obtained a two-year green card as is given to spouses whose marriage was less than two years old at the date of green card approval), you will face some challenges when USCIS examines your case.

USCIS will then review your case two years after your conditional-residence approval date, after you submit your Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence as is the requirement. This petition asks USCIS to remove conditions on your residence and grant you an approval for permanent residence.

When filing your petition to remove conditions on residence make sure you consult with your local immigration law firm.

Retain The Services of an Immigration Lawyer To Help You

For a thorough review of your case to see whether your divorce or annulment will affect your immigration status, or any other future immigration applications see your nearest immigration law firm. Feel free to contact Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 for a first free consultation.