Divorce after the issuance of a Green Card

Divorce does not adversely effect an alien's immigration status after the alien obtains permanent residence unconditionally. The only affect divorce may have on an alien at this stage is that it may delay the alien in obtaining citizenship. If a permanent resident is married to a U.S. citizen, he has a three year residency requirement for U.S. citizenship as opposed to the normal five year residency requirement (for more information on naturalization, please click here). In order to benefit from the shorter residency requirement, the alien must have been married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years before the exam date. Therefore, if the alien divorces a U.S. citizen spouse before three years of marriage have elapsed, and he has not been a permanent resident for five years, he will then have to wait until he has been a permanent resident for five years before he is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

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