How Does Divorce Affect My Immigration Status In America?

When it’s hitch time, you don’t think about your better half’s nationality or residence status, but at the time of divorce, these things may become important. You will contact a divorce attorney asking what would happen if you get a divorce in the middle of your residency application? Here is what you must know about it.

Divorce & Immigration

This is something that can be complex, depending on the way by which you arrived in the US in the first place. Usually, immigrants can come to the US, through multiple ways.

  • By applying for a student visa for higher studies, like Masters, PhD and diplomas.
  • By investing and starting a business in the US.
  • By sponsorship of a permanent US resident, whether it be your parents, siblings, spouse, or someone else in the family.

These are the primary ways by which an immigrant can be granted entry into any country, and even the US, but there can be changes in circumstances that would allow you to get married there. You might find someone that you want to spend your life with, and even though they’re a US national, you can still get married to them, if they choose to sponsor you.

After getting married for a certain period, you can be allowed to apply for a conditional residency in the US, but it’s necessary to stay married until you’re eligible for the application of a green card.

This is where things can get messy. If your marriage is on the rocks and it’s been hard living together, whether it’s because of differences or any other serious issue, there can be chances that you need to file for a divorce as soon as possible. This can go both ways. Either you can lose your residency rights in the US and will have to go back to your home country or it can’t affect you at all.

There are different scenarios and cases, where things need to be evaluated, so first, you need to establish your status with your spouse at that moment as well as the status of your immigration application. Only then, will you be able to swim through the process of divorce and figure out what to do from there?

Understanding The Difference

Divorce and separation are two completely different things and the outcomes of each of them, as far as immigration is concerned, can be worlds apart as well. First, you need to establish whether you and your spouse are just taking a break or are things not working out anymore.

A divorce is a legal procedure that officially nullify your marriage. It’s done in a court, in front of a judge and it’s essentially the last resort for couples who have tried everything else but can’t seem to overlook the differences between them. Divorces can be due to many reasons. There are causes of infidelity and abuse, and if there’s no major issue like this, then there are differences that make the couple bicker with one another until they feel like they are not compatible anymore and the best way to hold onto their sanity is to go their separate ways. The point is that divorces are the last stop and after that, there is no point or reason to get back together. If you don’t want the marriage to stand anymore then divorce is the only way to put an official end to things.

As far as separation is concerned, it’s also because of rifts in the marriage, but it’s not something as permanent as a divorce. There can be times when couples might need space from each other to figure things out and rather than opting for the marriage to end, they tend to work on their differences and habits separately, and this happens when one partner moves out of the house for a little bit. This is a lot similar to marriage counseling and it’s not the end of a marriage, per se. A lot of the time, couples can find their way back to each other and then live an even better life than before. Other times, if things aren’t working out, then divorce follows up.

The reason for explaining this is that divorce and separation can have different outcomes for an immigrant. If you are getting a divorce or your spouse started a divorce process and family attorneys Fairfax VA are involved, then it might or might not affect your immigration status. However, if you’re just taking some time out, and are separated from your spouse, but the marriage is still official, then it won’t affect your immigration process or status. It’s as simple as that.

The Status Of Your Arrival In The US

Let’s say that you are getting a divorce from a US national, so what does that mean for your immigration status? Well, three scenarios can play out.

Green Card Applicant

If you’ve been married for a long time have been eligible for a green card and are in the process of getting things finalized, then a divorce will not affect your immigration status. Usually, an immigrant is eligible to apply for a green card after 19-20 years of marriage to a US national.

Spouse Dependent Visa

If you’re already facing problems in your marriage and it hasn’t even been 2 years, then it means that you are probably still on a spouse-dependent visa, and that’s the same way by which you entered the country in the first place.

If that’s the case then your divorce can nullify the visa and you will be considered a foreigner and will have to be deported as soon as the proceedings are completed and the divorce is finalized.

Conditional Residency

Usually, after 2 years of marriage, you can be eligible to apply for a conditional or temporary green card and that’s the baseline for the actual green card. This means that you’re using your spouse’s identity and residence status to stay in America.

If you get divorced within this time frame, then you can lose your immigration status and you will need to go back to your home country because you’re not a permanent resident. You’re just getting by on your spouse’s nationality or citizenship, and after divorce, that standing means nothing.

Can You Become A US Citizen After A Divorce?

You can only become a US citizen, if you’re eligible for a green card or have already applied for it, before the divorce. If your application is in the pipeline then it won’t affect your residency, but you need to understand the fact that it might take more time for you to become a US national after divorce because the law is different for an applying immigrant wanting to become a US national.

If you fit the eligibility criteria, then citizenship shouldn’t be an issue and you will secure a green card in the allocated time.


These things can be a bit complicated to deal with, especially if you’re living in the US and figuring things out, as you go, but they’re good to know at the time of your divorce. And you must consult a divorce lawyer Fairfax VA who have relevant experience.

Should divorce be your final step?

Many individuals want to end their marriages for a variety of reasons. Some individuals openly admit that the relationship is not making them happy. Others assert that they are now extremely cut off from one another. After that, people often consult a family attorney to complete the divorce process.

Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not a simple process. Instead, for the majority of individuals, divorce may be a very difficult process. Of course, if you’re fortunate, you may breeze through it.

However, there are often several issues with regard to property division and child custody. Understand that there is no one side that triumphs in a divorce. It is more like a middle ground between the two. While one partner obtains a larger portion of the assets, the other party is granted custody of the kids.

Is divorcing the answer?

But the issue still stands: Is divorce the best course of action for you? Well, it may be, or it could not be. The response to this query may vary depending on the circumstances.

Sometimes it is more beneficial to just separate than to file for divorce. Though it can be the only option if you are very concerned about divorcing your spouse in order to be released from the binding legal agreement.

Divorce won’t make everything simpler

Although you may be tempted to think that getting a divorce would make things simpler, this is not always the case. Divorce won’t make everything simpler; on the contrary, it will only make things more difficult for you.

However, divorce could be a suitable option if your marriage is irreparably broken because of problems including domestic abuse, protracted arguments, mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse, or domestic violence. But divorce may sometimes be highly costly.

Divorce attorneys may be quite expensive. That may eat up a significant portion of your time along with all the legal concerns. A divorce might also cost you a lot of money in the long run since time is money.

It’s likely that you will also need to take occasional breaks from your employment in order to appear in court. Your mental health may suffer from all of this, which may have an impact on your daily life.

Possible outcomes

Not everyone has positive effects from divorce. Many individuals have poor living conditions and escalating financial difficulties. In many instances, it may also affect the person’s mental health.

Along with that comes the difficulty of forming a new stepfamily. In fact, divorce may complicate your life in several ways. It may potentially significantly worsen your life in certain circumstances. Just that you don’t plan on all of it happening beforehand.

Therefore, it is crucial that a person carefully consider their options before filing for divorce. Couples must evaluate their circumstances to determine whether or not a divorce is required.


Divorce may not always be the best option. Instead, a breakup is more advantageous. However, there are situations when divorce is the only option left, particularly in abusive relationships. In that case, you will have to get a divorce for your own well-being and that of your family/kids. So make sure that you are taking the right decision if it warrants it.

A good divorce attorney Fairfax VA, can help you with this. Therefore, set up a consultation with a family lawyer and go over your full case before filing for divorce. A family lawyer will also advise you with the benefits or drawbacks of getting a divorce depending on your own situation. So be mindful of that and do all your due diligence before taking the big step.

Questions to ask yourself before getting a divorce

Divorce is rather simple to get in our day and age. This is because most individuals do not view marriage as a commitment that will last a lifetime. Instead, it is viewed as something that may be terminated at any time. But in other circumstances, divorcing your spouse is not worth the effort. In some cases, more than just how simple something is should be considered. So, before contacting a cheap divorce lawyer, ask yourself if a divorce is even worth it.

Before getting a divorce, ask yourself these questions

Divorce isn’t always worth it, and that’s a fact we all must face. Rather, many people regret their decision in the future. So, instead of making snap judgments based on your emotions, sit down, and think about what you really want. Is it possible to ask yourself some questions in this regard? The following are among them:

Is there anything I haven’t attempted that I should have?

Divorce is usually on the table as a last resort for couples who have exhausted all other avenues of resolution. As a result, they believe there is no other option. These issues must be kept in mind since they are the only ones in which you and your partner can’t come to an agreement on how to move on. There is a propensity for additional issues to be solved.

Counselling might be a good place to start. You’ll get nothing by working harder, that’s true. Generally, divorce should only be considered as a last choice, not the first.

Is he still the one for me?

If you’re still in love with him, it’s likely that you’ll try to work out a compromise and come up with a solution. This is because individuals go above and beyond for those they care about. If you truly care about him, you should investigate other options before going through with a divorce. Divorce can lead to mental health concerns such as depression in a large proportion of people who don’t think things through well enough.

There’s no use in staying in a marriage with someone you no longer love if you don’t feel that way. If that’s the case, you can still consider divorce. However, if you don’t want to go through the inconvenience of a divorce, you may not be able to get divorced. This is since going through a divorce is not a simple procedure. You’ll have to shell out a lot of cash if you’re the one searching for a divorce and want to submit a lawsuit.

Is it worth it to divorce?

Divorce may cost a lot of money. Lawyers may be expensive; therefore, therefore. If you do have children, you must also consider child support. But alimony can also play a role on occasion. However, if the property must be divided, you will lose half of your assets.

Before seeking a divorce, you should take all these factors into account. Sometimes, couples end up sorting things out after spending a huge chunk of money on legal fees and other arrangements. So, before you decide, be sure you’ve thought it through rationally and objectively.


A divorce attorney Fairfax VA can help you if you have previously contemplated the pitfalls of divorce and still want to proceed. Because you’ve already made up your mind, there’s nothing that can stop you. It’s likely that you’ve previously thought about it and are prepared for whatever obstacles you may meet. When compared to the emotional scars that an abusive marriage may cause, divorce may seem trivial. As a result, be certain to surround yourself with the greatest legal counsel possible.