Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can You Lose Your Green Card for Divorce or Annulment?

Are you worried about can you lose your green card for a divorce or annulment? The answer to this question requires you to understand what a green card is and how your citizenship is affected by marriage. In order to become a US citizen, you must apply for citizenship, a process that is greatly helped if you have married a US citizen and have come back to America to live with them. Once you have married this individual, you will be granted a green card and you can apply for permanent citizenship. What happens, though, if your US citizen spouse decides to divorce you, or annul the marriage shortly after you have married?

Can You Lose Your Green Card for Divorce or Annulment?If you have been married for a reasonable period of time, the fact that you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce will not likely impact your chances for citizenship, and your green card will not be invalidated, nor will your citizenship chances be impacted. However, the Immigrations and Customs department may look askance at a marriage that ended in divorce or annulment after a very brief period of time, considering that it may possibly have been a sham marriage intended to help you achieve citizenship.
If you are asked to provide proof that your marriage was not a sham, you will want to bring supporting documents such as joint bank account statements, proof of joint ownership of other property together, and any proof that you have that the two of you did have a real relationship and did enjoy spending time together, and that you were not simply married to this person to try to gain citizenship. As long as you can provide some evidence that your marriage was a legitimate, real attempt at a relationship between two people, your green card will not be adversely affected.
So, can you lose your green card for a divorce or annulment? It is possible, but not likely. What having a divorce or annulment can do, however, is slow down your process to citizenship. If you were not married for at least three years after receiving your green card, you will not have met the eligibility requirements for the shortened naturalization period granted to individuals who have married a US citizen. In this case, you will have to wait an extra two years so that you have been a resident for five years before you can take your naturalization test, if you have been divorced before the three years is up.
Getting Legal Help
If you want further information about can you lose your green card for a divorce or annulment, an experienced immigration attorney can help answer your questions and help you do what you need to protect your citizenship status after divoce.

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