How Divorce Can Affect Your Green Card Status and Immigration Standing

If you talk about tragic events in life, divorce has to be the most heart wrenching one next to death. In most cases, people fail to recover from the trauma that it brings along and it haunts them for years.

Failing to recover from this emotional tragedy is one thing but having to deal with all the troubles that it brings along is another, if you happen to be one of those individuals who acquired their green card on some sort of condition, then you can run into trouble.

Here’s everything you need to know about divorce and how it can affect your green card status and immigration standing.

Renewal of Green Card:

If you are a permanent citizen of the U.S, you can easily renew or replace your Green Card without having to worry about any legal institution questioning you about your divorce. You simply have to file the relevant form for that purpose and you will be good to go, normally after having a divorce people tend to change their names because they want to remove their partner’s name.

However, you will be needing the legal documents to change your name, having the written form of the court verdict on your divorce would be enough in this matter.

Conditional Green Card:

A Conditional Green Card is issued to people who are not permanent residents of the U.S but are rather married to a permanent resident in the recent past. This card is issued for the time period of 2 years after the divorce and depending on the circumstances, the relevant authorities put the marriage to a test to see if the marriage was genuine or not.

Getting into the U.S is a dream to many people around the world simply because of the better lifestyle it has to offer, however, many try doing so by fraudulent ways, faking a love marriage happens to be one of them. Divorce can raise a lot of questions regarding the state of marriage.

The burden of proof is totally on the shoulders of the one seeking the green card and after the divorce, he has to prove in front of the legal authorities that he didn’t try to outsmart them.

Green Card Application:

What if neither of the two in a couple is permanent residents of the U.S? Well, this type of situation arises when a couple arrives in the U.S, and either the husband is being offered a sponsored visa or the wife.

There can be two scenarios if divorce happens in this matter

  1. Approval is pending:

When a person applies for a green card if he happens to be on a sponsored visa, his wife and children automatically become eligible candidates for the green card as well. This type of candidate is known as a derivative applicant.

Upon divorce before the approval of the Green Card, only the one person who was sponsored the visa in the first place remains eligible for getting a green card. All the other candidates are considered not to be eligible for having one.

  1. After Approval:

If the divorce happens after the approval, there’s no need for the authorities to review your legal resident status, however, due to the conditional green card, the applicant has to present evidence before the authorities to prove that the marriage was based on genuine relationship and there were no fraudulent intentions involved in the matter.


Depending on your circumstances, your chances of becoming a permanent resident can vary. For example, if a person is a resident and can’t apply for permanent residency because of the time period, yet, gets married and remains married for good 2 years, he can’t apply for neutralization, however, he will be able to apply for permanent residency because he’s been a resident for a time period of 5 years.

No matter if you’re divorced or willing to get a green card for yourself, you can check out all the different categories on how to get a green card here and successfully become a permanent citizen of the U.S.