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How a divorce affects the status of a Green Card

| Feb 10, 2021 | Immigration Law

One of the easiest ways for someone to become a citizen of the United States is through marriage to someone who is already a citizen. Because of this, many people attempt to enter the U.S. by marrying someone and divorcing him or her after a short period of time. 

The law does not look favorably upon those who use marriage alone to become legal citizens. As a result, many laws exist that require proof that the marriage is not “fraudulent.” If someone currently has a Green Card, a divorce may or may not affect the citizen status of that person. 

Obtaining a Green Card through marriage grants conditional citizenship

According to FindLaw experts, an immigrant who receives a Green Card because of marriage is only granted conditional citizenship. This conditional citizenship only lasts for two years. After that, the immigrant must file to have those conditions removed to become a permanent resident of the U.S. 

Divorce may or may not affect the process

The United States Citizen and Immigration Services website states that in most cases, a joint application is necessary to remove conditional status. For an immigrant who goes through a divorce within the first two years of his or her entry into the U.S., this may seem like the end of the line. However, there are ways to seek citizenship after a divorce: file a petition without the spouse or file for a waiver. 

It is important to note that when filing for the removal of conditional status either with a spouse or alone, the immigrant must prove that he or she did not enter the marriage solely to obtain citizenship. The easiest way to do this is to present account statements or property titles with the names of both spouses.