If you’re a foreign national who is currently living in the United States be aware that getting divorced may impact your immigration status if you are currently in possession of a visa that you were eligible for by virtue of your marriage. For example, if your spouse is an American citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States (aka a green card holder) who petitioned for an immigration visa on your behalf then getting divorced may impact your ability to continue living legally in the United States. This is also the case if your spouse is a foreign national who is living in the U.S. on a visa sponsored by their employer and your visa was a derivative application filed based on your spouse’s visa.
Will My Immigration Status be Affected?
American immigration law is quite complex, but in a nutshell getting divorced may impact your immigration status if you are conditional resident. In other words, if you used your spouse’s immigration status to immigrate to, or lawfully remain in, the United States within two years of getting married. Additionally, getting divorced may negatively impact your immigration status if your visa is dependent on your spouse’s immigration status (for example, if they are an H1B visa holder).
What If My Spouse and I are Separated But Not Divorced?
Generally speaking, physically or legally separating from your spouse will not impact your immigration status because you will still be legally married. However, it is important to be aware that if you and your spouse do decide to separate this may cause U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to call into question the validity of your marriage (especially if you haven’t been married for very long).
Green Card Holders and Divorce
CitizenPath’s website notes that most lawful permanent residents who possess a 10-year green card will not have trouble renewing their green card after getting divorced. This is because the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) does not directly ask about your marital status.