Immigration is one of the recurring topics in San Antonio-area broadcast and print news reports. While immigration can be a partisan and political issue that can evoke heated partisan debate among U.S. citizens, for immigrants the topic is a much more personal matter that affects where they live, work, go to school, and virtually all other aspects of daily life.
Divorce also obviously affects much of life. When divorce and immigration intersect, both can become more complicated.
It’s important for married immigrants who used their spouse’s status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to gain conditional resident status to be aware of how divorce or separation can affect their immigration classification.
First, it should be noted that your conditional resident status is limited to two years. In order for you to become a permanent resident of the U.S., you must file a request to remove the condition of residence during the 90 days prior to the expiration of the green card.
A divorce complicates matters, though it doesn’t make it impossible for you to become a lawful permanent resident. However, you will be required to demonstrate with documentation that you shared a typical married life with your former spouse. Documents that can help to prove your case include evidence of a joint bank account, joint lease, joint credit cards, insurance policies that covered both you and your spouse, etc.
Good news for green card holders: a divorce should not change your permanent resident status, though your wait to apply for naturalization might be extended to five years from the typical three.
As the Judicial Branch of California mentions, when divorce intersects with immigration, you want an attorney who knows both on your side.