Individuals living in Georgia do not have to be told how complicated life can be when navigating a divorce. But the divorce process becomes quite a bit more complex when the immigration status of one party to the marriage is affected by their marital status.

Approximately 400,000 American citizens are married to nationals of foreign countries each year. These nationals are subsequently classified as immediate relatives under immigration law and receive preferential treatment when applying for a green card.

When a person who is awaiting a green card is divorced before receiving the authorization needed to permanently reside in the United States, they may question whether residency can still be granted to them. Some foreign nationals may even fear they will be deported. However, conditional permanent residence is still possible through the waiver process.

One or more of the following criteria must be met before a divorced foreign national can become eligible for a waiver: proof that the dissolved marriage was valid, evidence to show the life of the divorced person may suffer if forced to leave their new home in the United States, and proof that the marital union ended due to cruelty or abuse on the part of the American-born spouse.

Foreign nationals who received a green card before the termination of marriage will need to file Form I-751 before the green card they possess expires. This form will request that the conditions attached to their conditional permanent residence be removed for subsequent green cards.

Foreign nationals who are divorced from an American spouse before receiving a green card will face a complicated immigration process if they choose to remain in the U.S. following the divorce. An immigration attorney who is experienced in these matters may be able to facilitate a smoother immigration process while protecting the right of a divorced foreign national to continue their life in America.