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How will my divorce affect my immigration status?

You are able to anticipate and plan some things in life and you have little or no control over other things. For example, you were able to anticipate and plan the move from your native country to the United States to pursue a better life for you and for your family. On the other hand, you probably could not anticipate that your marriage would end once were living in the United States.

Of course, one significant issue for you is your immigration status. The question is whether your divorce will affect your immigration status, and how. If you happen to hold citizenship in another country and your spouse is either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident and you immigrated within two years of your marriage, you are considered a conditional resident. If that is the case, you will need to adjust your immigration status.

Will my status be affected after separation or divorce if my immigration status is tied to my spouse?

If your status is dependent on your spouse’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, your immigration status may be affected. If your spouse is in the United States on an H1B visa and they have been granted an adjustment of status application but the date of final approval has not come yet, your divorce or separation may nullify your status as “dependent.” If you are no longer dependent, it may not be possible for you to obtain a green card once that date arrives.

Exactly how is my status affected?

The answer to this lies in a few things: the immigration status of your spouse, whatever immigration benefits you were getting, and exactly when and how you received those benefits. If you have conditional status through marriage, that status will run out after two years. If you wish to become a permanent U.S. resident, you will have to file Form I-751, which is the Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence.

The form must be filed 90 days before the green card expires. Usually, both of you would file the form together and you would need to include written proof that you are still married. If your marriage has already ended legally, you will not need to have your spouse file with you.

If you already had a green card at the time of the divorce and are a permanent resident of the United States, your status should not change. However, it may take longer for you to become naturalized. Instead of three years, you may have to wait five years.

Valuable advice form a Virginia immigration lawyer

If you need to work out your U.S. immigration status, the expertise of a Virginia immigration lawyer can help you through the process. The lawyer can help you to navigate the process and can stay by your side every step of the way so that you can resolve whatever issues you are experiencing for a hopefully positive outcome.

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