Q: What are the risks to divorcing a US citizen as an undocumented immigrant?
I am an undocumented immigrant (I entered the US legally and overstayed a visa) and I got married last year to an american citizen. She now wants a divorce. How could this affect my stay in the US?
A: Usually when an immigrant marries a U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen files a petition for permanent residence on behalf of the immigrant, the immigrant is granted conditional permanent resident status until the couple has been married for two years. This two year conditional period is supposed to deter people from entering into sham marriages for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. In order for the immigrant to remove the granted conditional permanent status, the immigrant will have to file a form to remove the conditional status before the temporary green card expires. The form has a a built-in waiver for those who have divorced their U.S. citizen spouse, but USCIS will still require proof that the marriage was entered in good faith, for legitimate reasons and not for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. Divorce could definitely affect your stay in the U.S., please consult an attorney that could advise you based on your particular situation.
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