Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
I am a U.S. citizen. I sponsored my wife for a green card and she received a two-year temporary green card. My wife is supposed to apply for a permanent green card before the end of the two years, but we are separated and will be divorcing. Do I have an obligation to continue to sponsor my wife to get her permanent green card even though we are divorcing? Will I have a financial support obligation after the marriage ends?
IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN:
Your wife received a two-year conditional green card because you were married less than two years at the time she was granted permanent residence. She is required to apply to have the condition removed during the 90 day period before her green card expires. If she is married at that time, she would file an application to remove the condition from her residence by filing a joint application with you, her husband. The point of this application is to show that this was a bona fide marriage and she did not get married for the sole purpose of receiving a green card. However, if the marriage falls apart before she obtains her 10-year unconditional green card, then she will need to file an application requesting a waiver of a joint application to remove the condition. She would file this application after her divorce is finalized, and it does not require the ex-spouse, you, to apply jointly with her. So you do not have an obligation to join your wife in her application to remove the condition from her residence. She will file a waiver application after your divorce is finalized.
But, even though you divorce, you will still be obligated under the Affidavit of Support you filed on behalf of your wife. Whether or not this requires you to provide financial support for your wife after the marriage is a matter of debate in the courts. But if your wife obtains certain welfare-type benefits, it is clear that the U.S. government can sue you for the amount paid out to her. The obligations under an Affidavit of Support continue until she becomes a U.S. citizen, until you can show that she has worked for at least 40 quarters in the U.S., or until one of you dies.
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Ari Sauer is an attorney with SiskindSusser, PC. For Ari’s full bio, visit http://www.visalaw.com/ari.html.You can schedule a consultation with Ari or with one of Siskind Susser’s otherattorneys by calling 1-800-343-4890 or 901-682-6455.
* Due to the volume of questionsreceived, not all questions can be answered. On this blog we answer questionsas a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations areconstantly changing. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of New York and New Jersey. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed.