As a Miami immigration lawyer, I sometimes speak with clients who have already received a green card through their marriage to a United States citizen. However, what happens if you get divorced before getting your citizenship? By divorcing, does this mean that the immigration authorities will deny your citizenship application? Below are some frequently asked questions.
I have decided that I want to obtain divorce. Will this derail my chances of becoming a United States citizen?
If your marriage is under 2 years old prior to obtaining your green card, your residence will be conditional and will require you to file a petition to remove the condition, i.e. Form I-751. If you have already divorced and are now at the naturalization stage, i.e. Form N-400, you will still be asked about your prior marriage. I would suggest that you speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to obtain more information on the standards by which a “real” marriage is established.
Why do the immigration authorities care if my marriage was “the real thing or not?
The immigration authorities are looking for red flags for a fake, or a sham marriage. A fake or sham marriage is a marriage which was entered into for the sole purposes of a green card. Should you have any questions as to what the authorities consider to be a fake or sham marriage, I would suggest that you speak with a Miami immigration attorney.
Should I not get divorced and stay in my marriage, so as not to raise any red flags with the USCIS?
Not necessarily. Just by divorcing, it does not automatically mean that the USCIS will to assume that your marriage was a fraud. However, most Miami immigration lawyers will remind you that when you attend your naturalization interview, you should expect some additional questions from USCIS. You may also have to submit additional paperwork to prove that your marriage was real. Again, you should consult with a Miami immigration lawyer if you have any questions.
USCIS has asked me to produce more documents to prove that my marriage was real. What kinds of documents should I be producing?
Below are some examples of documents which lend more credence to your marriage is being “real” during the time that you were married. They include, but are not limited to:
- Leases or mortgages (both names listed)
- Joint bank statements
- Joint credit card statements
- Children born as a result of marriage
- Statement from therapist if you and your spouse attending couples counseling before divorce
If you would like more information on obtaining a divorce before getting your citizenship, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at murraysilva.com.