Divorce is complicated enough. When you add immigration issues into the mix, it becomes an even more complex puzzle. One crucial concern is whether your divorce will cost you your immigration status. It’s an issue that, understandably, causes a lot of anxiety. But there’s no need to worry; the New York divorce attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm can provide all the information you need.
Getting divorced doesn’t necessarily mean you lose your immigration status, but it’s crucial to understand the potential legal issues.
Why Does the U.S. Care About Your Immigration Status After a Divorce?
It may seem odd to take away your immigration status after a divorce. After all, these seem to be completely unrelated legal issues.
The reason the U.S. government cares about your immigration status after a divorce is simple. They’re worried about people obtaining residency through marriage under false pretenses. It is not unheard of for people to try to obtain residency by marrying a U.S. citizen and moving here before filing for a quick divorce. Even though immigration officials carefully review marriage records before allowing anyone into the country based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, they know it’s possible to fake these documents.
How Divorce Can Impact Your Immigration Status
The critical factor that determines whether a divorce will impact your immigration status is whether you are in the United States temporarily or have successfully applied for permanent residency or citizenship. If you immigrated to the U.S. and your marriage was less than two years old when you entered the country, you probably received a conditional green card granting you permission to stay here for two years. This means if you get divorced before this two-year time period expires and have not obtained permanent residency, your divorce could cost you your immigration status. The same is true if you’re in the U.S. on a dependent’s visa. Once your divorce is final, you lose your immigration status.
On the other hand, if you obtained permanent residency or citizenship before filing for divorce, you will maintain your immigration status once the divorce is over. However, it’s always a good idea to talk with an experienced family law attorney to ensure you fully understand your situation.
Exceptions to Know
While it’s true that the end of your marriage can impact your immigration status if you have a conditional green card, there are some important exceptions to understand, as they might apply to your situation. These exceptions include:
- Spousal abuse – If you ended your marriage because your spouse was abusive, immigration authorities would likely allow you to stay in the U.S. After all, you shouldn’t have to stay in an abusive marriage to maintain your immigration status.
- Your spouse dies – If your spouse was a U.S. citizen and died before your two-year conditional green card expired, you will likely keep your immigration status.
- Proof of a genuine marriage – If you can show your marriage was authentic before your divorce, you may be able to keep your immigration status. You will need strong evidence to support this claim.
- Other immigration eligibility – If you have other valid grounds to legally reside in the U.S., getting a divorce might not impact your immigration status.
Contact a New York Divorce and Immigration Lawyer Now
If you have concerns about your immigration status following a divorce, it’s essential to speak to an attorney immediately. The New York divorce and immigration attorneys at the Mandel Law Firm have the experience, knowledge, and tenacity to support you during this trying time. Call (646) 770 3868 now or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation.