What To Do If Your Green Card Expires Before Your Divorce Has Been Finalized


Let’s say you have a two-year conditional green card, your marriage relationship is not going well, you have separated from your spouse, you’re thinking about getting a divorce and your two-year conditional green card is set to expire. This puts you in a bit of a pickle, and you are wondering what you should do to keep your green card and avoid being deported.

At my law firm, we help people across the country and throughout the world with their immigration issues including work visas, green cards, citizenship through the naturalization process, and much more.

The solution to your problem is to file your I-751 before your green card expires and to seek a waiver.


What Does A Waiver Do?

The waiver is based on two things. Number one, it is based on the fact that you have a divorce. And number two, it is based on the fact that your marriage relationship was entered into good faith, meaning our marriage was not fake.

It was just a relationship that did not work out and ended in divorce. But you went into it for the right reasons. Those are the two things that you need to do to win your waiver.


Completing Immigration Paperwork When The Divorce Has Not Been Finalized

But what happens if your divorce is not final before your green card expires? What do you do in that case? You may be wondering about this because you have to file the I-751 before your green card expires, and the I-751 is based on divorce. So, what do you do?

The answer is you have to file for divorce so that when you submit your I-751, you submit it based on divorce. Even though your divorce is not final, you submit proof that you have, in good faith, filed for divorce.

You must submit a copy of the divorce complaint as well as all of the paperwork that you submitted along with your divorce. You must show that you have a case number for your divorce and that your divorce has been filed and it is pending.


The Top Mistake To Avoid

The one thing that you should never do in this situation is to allow your green card to lapse without filing some sort of paperwork with USCIS, which means you should timely file your I-751 with USCIS.

What will happen is you will get a case number which will extend your immigration case and your green card. Then, USCIS will send you a request for additional evidence and ask you for proof that your divorce has become final.

At that point, you can submit proof that your divorce is final. It can take a very long time for USCIS to get around to sending that request. So, taking this action will give you plenty of time to finalize your divorce.


The Most Important Takeaways

If you are in this situation, the takeaways that I want you to leave with are to timely file your I-751 based on divorce and good faith marriage, and to submit copies of whatever paperwork you have submitted for your divorce.

The second takeaway is to get going on your divorce and to hire a family attorney to handle your divorce. Because I am not a family attorney, I refer my clients to other family lawyers. But I can tell you that lawyers are far more effective at getting people divorced than people who go to court and try to do it themselves.


Speak With An Immigration Law Firm To Learn More

If you are in this situation, you will need professional, legal help and you need your divorce pushed forward urgently.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. You do not have to go at this alone, I am here to help.

Josh Goldstein
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