Immigration-Divorcing an American spouse doesn’t mean losing legal immigrant status

Q. My American husband petitioned for me and I immigrated to the United States just a year ago. Our marriage isn’t working out and I want to leave him. I have only conditional immigrant status with a card that will expire in a year. If we separate and divorce will I lose my legal status?

Name withheld, N.J.


A. You can get your permanent card (valid for 10 years and renewable) if you divorce your husband. Having been divorced after a good faith marriage is one of three reasons that a conditional permanent resident can self-petition to remove the condition. You must apply for your permanent card within 90 days before your two-year card expires.

You received a two-year conditional permanent resident card because you became a permanent resident within two years of your marriage. The three reasons you can use to remove the condition without your husband’s help are that you entered the marriage in good faith, the marriage was bona fide or “real” and it was terminated by divorce or annulment; you are the victim of spousal abuse or your child has suffered abuse from your husband; or that leaving the U.S. would result in your suffering extreme hardship. Based on your email, the easiest path to a permanent card is probably by divorcing your husband.



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