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Will Getting Divorced Affect My Green Card?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 31, 2015 6:59 AM

If your permanent resident status is based on a marriage, and that marriage is falling apart, you may be worried about your green card. Getting a divorce can be an emotionally and legally scary prospect, especially if you're worried about being deported.

While you may not lose your green card due to a divorce, you may have to file some extra paperwork.

Immigration Services

Conditions are placed on permanent residence to ensure that marriages aren't attempts to evade immigration laws. So if your marriage was real at the start, you probably don't have anything to worry about if it ends.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, if you are no longer married, you can still apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence. But you'll need to apply to waive the requirement that you and your spouse file jointly. And while the divorce itself won't trigger an Immigration Services investigation, you may have to answer a few more questions during your naturalization interview.

Domestic Violence Green Card

There are added protections for non-citizens who are the victims of domestic abuse. Under what's known as the "domestic violence green card," if you reside in the U.S. and suffer from domestic abuse, you can self-petition for a green card. (Even undocumented immigrants can receive government protection under a U visa.)

The domestic violence green card still requires some paperwork, but you could be eligible for:

  • Permanent residency in the U.S., provided you don't commit an offense that makes you removable under U.S. immigration law.
  • An opportunity to work in any occupation of your choosing, including the option to start your own business or corporation.
  • Protection by U.S., state, and local laws.

If you have a green card and are going through a divorce, or if you are the victim of domestic abuse and need a green card or government protection, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney today.

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