Divorce or separation can be a difficult and emotional experience. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you realize that you got divorced before your green card interview. Whether it was a decision you didn’t anticipate or one you made due to personal reasons, the consequences can be complicated. The question now is, will you be deported or can you still remain in the U.S.? This article will help you navigate the next steps if you’re facing complications due to divorce before your green card interview and emphasize the importance of having an experienced immigration attorney by your side.
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Understanding the Impact of Divorce on Your Immigration Status
If you get divorced before your green card application interview, the outcome of your immigration case will depend on your entry status. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service will consider whether you are a primary beneficiary or a derivative beneficiary. If you are a primary beneficiary, you can proceed with the application. However, if you are a derivative beneficiary, you may not be able to continue. If your marriage lasted for at least two years, you can request a waiver (Form I-751) and pursue an adjustment of status.
How Divorce or Separation Affects Your Immigration Status
The impact of divorce or separation on your immigration status depends on whether you are in the U.S. on a conditional resident status visa. If you obtained your visa based on your spouse’s application or with their consent, divorce or separation may affect your lawful status. It can also affect your ability to stay in the United States and may even lead to deportation proceedings. The outcome will also depend on whether your former spouse is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, the immigration benefits you received, and how you obtained them. To ensure that your separation has a positive effect on your immigration status, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney from a reputable law firm who understands your case. They can work with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to come up with the best possible solution for you.
The Impact of Legal Separation on Green Cards
Legal separation is not the same as divorce or annulment. For immigration purposes, the couple is still considered legally married even if they are living separately. This means that a non-U.S. citizen may still be eligible for a green card despite the separation. However, if the legal separation is recognized as part of the divorce process in the jurisdiction where it takes place, it may hinder your petition to obtain a green card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services does not evaluate the viability of the marriage but rather its validity. As long as there is no evidence of marriage fraud, you should be in a favorable position.
The Green Card Interview and Separation
The green card interview is usually conducted with both spouses present, but there are instances where couples are interviewed separately. This is known as a “Stokes interview,” where the answers of both spouses are compared for discrepancies. These interviews are conducted by USCIS officers from the Fraud Detection and National Security department. While being interviewed separately is not common, it can happen. Be prepared for this possibility and answer the questions honestly to avoid any complications in your case.
Adjusting Your Status After Divorce
If you divorce before the second marriage interview, which usually takes place at the end of the two-year conditional green card period, you can still proceed with adjusting your status to become a permanent resident. The eligibility requirements for adjusting your status are based on the genuineness of the marriage. Just because you are legally separated or divorced does not automatically mean that your marriage was fraudulent. However, divorce is considered a red flag by immigration authorities, so your petition to remove conditions will undergo closer scrutiny.
Overcoming Challenges in the Green Card Process
While separated couples are still considered legally married for immigration purposes, the green card process based on marriage becomes more complicated. If the jurisdiction recognizes legal separation as part of the divorce process, you may be denied a green card and may be required to leave the country after your conditional status expires. Additionally, you may face challenges if your ex-spouse refuses to cooperate and fulfill joint filing requirements for Form I-751. It is crucial to have a strong legal strategy and the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to navigate through these challenges.
Preparing for Your Green Card Interview after Divorce
To prepare for your green card interview after divorce, gather all the necessary supporting documents to prove the genuineness of your marriage. If you need more time, you can request a postponement. Be transparent and honest with your answers during the interview and avoid trying to deceive USCIS officials. Provide evidence that you had a normal relationship with your spouse before the divorce, such as marriage certificates, pre-recorded messages, joint bank account statements, mortgage payments, and any other relevant documents. These documents do not guarantee approval, but they help demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage. Finally, be sure to file your application before your current visa status expires.
Let Herman Legal Group Support You
If you’re facing separation prior to the green card application process and are unsure of how to proceed, it’s crucial to seek help from an experienced immigration attorney. At Herman Legal Group, we have a team of dedicated immigration attorneys who can handle issues related to conditional resident status, conditional green cards, and green card status updates. We understand the complexities of your case and will provide you with the best legal representation. Schedule a virtual or in-person interview with us today by calling +1-800-808-4013 or +1-216-696-6170 or booking online.
The green card interview is a critical step in the immigration process, where your marriage is evaluated. It is essential to have a good attorney-client relationship and seek legal advice from a reputable law firm. This will ensure confidentiality and enhance your chances of success in your permanent residency case. Remember, immigration matters can be emotional and overwhelming, but with the right legal counsel, you can navigate through the complexities and achieve your immigration goals. For more information, visit 5 WS.