One of the primary goals of U.S. immigration law is ensuring family members from different countries remain together. If you received your legal permanent residency because of your marriage to a U.S. citizen, though, you may worry about how divorce is likely to affect your status.
To prevent immigration fraud, officials with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services typically grant conditional residency to applicants whose marriages are fewer than two years old. After having conditional residency for two years, you must file a petition to remove the conditions on your residency.
Removing the conditions on your green card
When you file your petition to remove conditions on your residency, you must show you are still in a bona fide marriage. That is, you must prove your marriage is not for the purposes of violating U.S. immigration law. If you are no longer married, however, you obviously cannot prove you are still in a bona fide marriage.
Proving you had a bona fide marriage
A divorce does not automatically end your path toward legal permanent residency. If you divorce before filing the petition to remove conditions, you must prove your marriage was a good faith one until your divorce. USCIS may approve your petition if you can demonstrate you were in an honest marriage. The following evidence may be helpful:
- Birth certificates of the children you share with your ex-spouse
- Financial documentation to show a joint financial life
- Affidavits from friends and relatives about your marriage and divorce
If you want to become an unconditional legal permanent resident, you should not let your divorce dissuade you from timely filing a petition to remove conditions. Ultimately, by carefully documenting the validity of your marriage, you may boost your chances of receiving a 10-year green card.