In today’s global society it is perfectly understandable that you may have come to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen. You may have been happily married for a few months or a year or so when things fall apart, and you end up divorcing. If you are not yet a full permanent resident, does this mean you will have to leave the United States?
What is conditional permanent residency?
If you are in the country based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen, you will have conditional permanent residency until you have been in the United States for two years. Conditional permanent residency serves as a means for ensuring you did not try to get in the United States based on a sham marriage in order to get a Green Card. Once the two years have passed, you can file a Form I-751 to remove the conditions.
What happens if I divorce while I’m still a conditional permanent resident?
If, during this conditional period, you divorce then you may need to seek a waiver allowing you to file your I-751 as an individual rather than jointly. You also need to show you entered the marriage honestly and in good faith.
Getting a divorce when you are still a conditional permanent resident does not mean that you will automatically be removed from the country. Officials just want to know that you did not get married in bad faith for the sole purpose of becoming a permanent resident and with the intention of divorcing as soon as possible.
Making the decision to divorce can be difficult, but if you and your spouse are truly unhappy in the marriage divorcing may ultimately be for the best. Even couples who married with the best of intentions to stay wed can find that as time goes on, they are simply incompatible. If you are in the country as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, you can remain in the country following your divorce as long as your marriage was not a sham, and you obtain a waiver of the joint filing requirement.