Divorce And A Spouse’s Role In The Immigration Process
In this article, you will learn…
- Why consulting an experienced immigration attorney is important,
- When the reason for your divorce can impact your immigration process, and
- How the U.S. citizen spouse’s history can be detrimental to your application for a green card.
What Happens When Immigration Is Made Aware Of A Divorce When A Non-Conditional Green Card Application Is Pending?
There is a higher scrutiny in determining whether the marriage is a fraud when immigration discovers a couple is already headed for a divorce before their petition for a green card has been granted. The best thing that you can do is to go about informing them correctly about your divorce.
Most of the time all it will do is cause further delays for your approval while they determine that you did not get married for the sake of getting a green card. They will be asking for additional evidence to prove that the marriage was about love, that the relationship was a true relationship based on affection rather than the opportunity to get documentation.
If they were closer to granting approval at the time they were made aware of the divorce, they are more likely to approve the application, unless there are other red flags that the divorce only adds to in their determination. Of course, you can’t be sure of whether they have identified red flags all the time.
This is why it is recommended that you consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss whether holding off on the divorce might be in your best interest.
Does Reason Or Fault Listed For A Divorce Have An Impact On Whether I Will Be Granted A Green Card?
Yes, the reason or fault listed for a divorce can have an impact on whether a green card will be granted. For example, if the immigrant spouse can show that they are trying to get a divorce due to violence, especially if they have a protective order, that can be very helpful to them in getting a green card granted.
Does The Length Of The Marriage Prior To The Divorce Impact The Green Card Application Of The Immigrant Spouse?
The length of the marriage prior to the divorce absolutely impacts the green card application and process. The longer you are married and the longer you are here, the better and easier it is for that process. It is much easier to take off the conditions in a conditional residency and get a 10-year green card or to apply for citizenship if your spouse is with you and going through that process.
There is more scrutiny than if you are trying to go through it on your own, but the longer you are married, the better it will be for you. The removal of conditions is the biggest thing and, once that is done, the divorce won’t matter because the immigrant spouse will be able to apply for citizenship on their own down the road – after five years.
What Can The U.S. Citizen Spouse Do To Help The Immigrant Spouse Through The Process?
The U.S. citizen spouse should be upfront and honest when answering the many questions being asked. They also need to show that they are not a bad person. This is because if there are criminal charges or decrees of family violence in their past, it can negatively impact and make the process much more difficult for the immigrant spouse. The citizen spouse having a clean record definitely matters in this process.
Immigration will also look at prior petitions. If the citizen spouse has petitioned for three or four wives before this – which sounds like an exaggeration, but there is a reason why there’s a joke about mail-order brides – this is going to have a very negative impact on the process. They are not going to allow the same person to continue marrying different people just to help them get their documentation.
A marriage must be based on love. You can show that yours is a real relationship by presenting evidence that can include…
- Joint bank accounts,
- Combined tax filings,
- Evidence of vacationing together,
- Their dating relationship,
- Engagement photographs, and
- Evidence of a wedding.
Your wedding doesn’t need to be extravagant, of course. Any variation of a wedding celebration with loved ones, as evidenced by photographs, can often be great evidence of a true relationship. All immigration wants to see is that there is ample evidence supporting that yours is a real and true relationship. The more your lives were intertwined before applying, the stronger your case will be.
Can The U.S. Citizen Spouse Harm The Immigrant Spouse’s Chances Of Getting Approval?
If the U.S. citizen spouse has a criminal record or any history of violence, it can most certainly harm the immigrant spouse’s chances of getting approved. The last thing that immigration wants is to bring over another victim for the citizen spouse or their abusive family. Therefore, the citizen spouse’s own history and family history are very impactful on the process.
In order to determine what, if any, steps you can take to circumvent any questionable history and ensure the smoothest possible process, it is best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Disclose everything to your attorney so that they can advise you correctly on how to proceed and what you can do.
For more information on Divorce And A Spouse’s Role In The Immigration Process, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 532-5666 today.