Can you divorce if you have a conditional green card?

As the saying goes, “love knows no bounds” sometimes not even geographic ones. It is not unusual for a person who resides outside the United States to marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and then set up a new home in the U.S.

These foreign spouses may be issued a two-year conditional green card. During the two-year time frame, U.S. Citizen Immigration Services will evaluate the marriage to ensue it is bona fide. Once the two-year period ends, the spouses will file a joint petition known as Form I-751 to remove the condition on the foreign-born spouse’s green card. However, what happens if you want to divorce before the two-year conditional period on your green card is up, but you want to remain in the U.S.?

Divorce will lead to heightened scrutiny of your I-751

If you divorce before the two-year conditional period on your green card is up, you can still file Form I-751. However, because of your divorce USCIS will scrutinize your application to a greater extent than if you were still married. This is to ensure your marriage was the real deal and was not just a sham marriage wherein your only intention was to circumvent U.S. immigration law to get your hands on a green card. The burden of proof falls on you to show that although you were in love the relationship did not last.

I-751 waivers

If you have a conditional green card but later divorce, you can file a Form I-751 with a waiver to the joint filing requirement. However, this is a complicated legal process that you may not want to handle alone. If you do not file Form I-751 or your petition for a green card is rejected, you may be deported.

Learn more about divorce in California

It is important that if you want to obtain a green card after divorce, you follow all the correct procedures and work with a professional. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on divorce may be a useful resource to those who want to learn more about this topic.