When you got married, you were not a U.S. citizen, but the individual that you married was. As a result of your marriage, you were able to obtain a green card so that you could stay in the United States.
Before the marriage, you had been in the U.S. on a Visa. Perhaps it was a student visa. No matter what it technically qualified as, the problem is that that visa has long since expired. The only reason you are still in the United States is due to your marital status and the green card that it provided. Without that, you would have been asked to leave long ago.
Now you and your spouse have begun talking about potentially getting a divorce. There are a lot of things you have to think about, but, as an immigrant, one of your top priorities is protecting your status. If you get divorced, is that going to cause you to lose your green card and then get deported as well?
Generally, you don’t have to worry about deportation
The good news is that you typically don’t have to worry about getting deported just because your marriage ended. You could face a little bit of a higher risk level if you’re still in conditional status. If this has already been lifted, then the odds are significantly in favor of you not being deported. Even if you are in conditional status, you can still file the proper paperwork to move ahead without being asked to leave the United States.
One potential issue that may come up is if the government believes that your marriage was a sham and that the divorce is evidence that you pretended to be married just to get the green card. This would constitute fraud and you could certainly be deported. This is the same rule that married couples have to face, and that’s why they have to do green card interviews to make sure that the marriage is legitimate.
However, divorce itself does not mean that fraud has occurred. People do fall in love, get married and then get divorced. The government understands that this can happen even to a marriage that was completely legitimate to begin with. But it is something to keep in mind if you’re worried that your divorce may make it appear that you committed fraud in the past.
Working through the process
Just because you’re not automatically going to be deported doesn’t mean this isn’t a complicated process, and it’s very wise to look into all of your legal options.