When someone from a foreign country marries a permanent resident or citizen of the US, that person can apply for permanent resident status. Permanent residents are people who are legally allowed to work and live in the US, and can become citizens through the naturalization process. Browse website for more details.
When a foreign spouse gains permanent resident status, they get what is commonly known as a green card. These cards document a person’s immigration status, and can be either conditional or unconditional. If a couple has not yet been married for two years when a spouse gains resident status, their green card is conditional; after that period, the spouse can trade up to an unconditional green card.
Divorce and Permanent Resident Status
An annulment or divorce can negatively affect a person’s immigration status, in one of three situations:
1. If the person does not yet have their green card
2. If their green card is conditional
3. If their card is unconditional
If the person does not have a green card and their marriage ends in annulment or divorce before permanent resident status is attained, that person cannot gain permanent residency through their ex-spouse. Those with conditional green cards will find their circumstances complicated by the end of the marriage; they still need to file a petition to remove residential conditions, but must also file a request to waive the joint filing prerequisite.
If the non-resident spouse has a regular green card, their permanent resident status is not affected by annulment or divorce, but the time to become a citizen can be extended. If someone with permanent residency remains in the marriage, they are eligible for citizenship after three years, but if they are divorced before then, they must wait five years before applying.
Hiring Brooks and Brooks Attorneys at Law
If you are an immigrant and you are divorcing, you should consult an immigration or divorce lawyer. Any divorce is difficult, even more so when your resident status is at risk. Your Divorce Attorney Paradise CA can help you gather, fill out and submit the correct paperwork, and they can tell you how the end of your marriage will affect your citizenship status.