I-751 After Divorce

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Can I get my 10-year Green Card after a divorce? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I feel like I’ve made this video before and I probably have, but we’ve been seeing such an uptick in people wanting to apply for that 10-year Green Card, when they received the two-year Green Card based on marriage and the marriage has gone caput, it’s dead, the couple hates each other, and the foreign national wants to get that 10-year Green Card. It is possible to stay in the United States after divorce, but it’s really tricky and timing is everything. You really need to make sure that you plan out your approach to obtaining lawful permanent residence on a 10-year permanent basis.

What are we talking about? Well, generally when a foreign national marries a US citizen, and that marriage is less than two years old when the initial conditional Green Card is issued, the couple is going to have to submit an I-751, along with updated marital evidence, at that two-year anniversary. In those 90 days prior to that two-year anniversary, you have to file the I-751. In most cases, you file that jointly with your US citizen spouse or your LPR spouse, and you get that part taken care of. But sometimes, and what we’re seeing now with the coronavirus is more and more people are getting divorced. We’ve been seeing some really tough situations with foreign nationals and talking to therapists and divorce attorneys and figuring out that their marriages are falling apart. They want to know, how do I get to stay in the United States? Well, you can file an I-751 on your own. But the trick there is you have to actually be divorced.

Sometimes I have these consults where someone is like, “Boy, I don’t know if our marriage is going to last, and I don’t know if I trust my US citizen spouse to go to bat for me. They’re sort of crazy, or they say mean things, or they say they’re threatening to deport me, and I don’t know if I should file the 751 together and see how it goes, or if I should file on my own and just be done with that spouse.” This is tricky. Of course, there’s the relationship aspect and then there’s the immigration aspect. You have to sort of take all that into account when you’re deciding what you want to do.

Obviously, we’re not marriage counselors, and we can’t tell you what to do with your life. We can just give you the immigration options. But a lot of times, you have to make a conscious decision as to what you want to do. Do you want to go with your US citizen spouse? Do you trust them? Do you think that they’re going to do well at the interview? Do you think that you’re going to be able to stick together for another 18 or 24 months? These are tricky questions.

If you have questions, I wouldn’t file an I-751 without a lawyer. I think this is one of those cases where you really are going to need some help. You can give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@HackingLawPractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.