Monday, December 19, 2011

Divorce During Immigration Process

Thanks to fast-food style online dating, many cross-border marriages end in a hurry as how they start. Many aliens are devastated when their marriage hit the rock. Can they continue to stay in US?
The answer is, as usual, depends. 

If divorce happens shortly after conditioned green card is granted, generally speaking,  divorce terminates conditioned green card. However, depends on circumstances, the alien could obtain a waiver of termination. 

If divorce takes effect after the alien obtains permanent residence unconditionally,  the only effect divorce may have on the alien is that it may delay the alien in obtaining citizenship. If a permanent resident is married to a U.S. citizen, he has a three year residency requirement for U.S. citizenship if the marriage is still in effect at the time of exam, if not, he will then have to wait until he has been a permanent resident for five years before he is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

What if the divorce happens before AOS is filed? Aliens who can prove as battered spouse may self-petition. Battered spouses are those who are abused verbally and physically in marriage. Proving such is not an easy work. A lawyer’s professional assistance is strongly recommended.