Can an Extramarital Affair Disqualify You for a Green Card?


It’s a good idea to stay faithful if you’re trying to become a legal permanent resident of the United States through marriage. If you have an affair you may incentivize your spouse to withdraw the I-130 petition, which could jeopardize your status.

Thinking you’ll just stay with your new sweetheart? Sadly, your next petition may be met with an intense amount of skepticism. If the interviewer believes your actions led to the withdrawal of the first petition they are unlikely to grant you another one. 

You may face problems even if your first spouse forgives you and you get back together. USCIS might be just as skeptical of a new petition. If it didn’t work out the first time, what reason do they have to believe that it will work out a second time? 

Can divorce get your green card cancelled?

What happens after you’re married? Can you get a legal divorce like any US Citizen might?

Again, it depends on what stage the green card application is at. If the I-130 is pending then your ex can absolutely send a signed letter to USCIS advising that they wish to withdraw their petition. 

Your ex may also choose not to show up at your visa interview, which will definitely make it that much harder for your case to be approved. 

What happens if you get a divorce after you’ve already been granted LPR status? You need to check to see whether you’re still a conditional resident. If you are, you’ll need help from an immigration attorney to petition to remove the conditions of residence, creating LPR status that’s independent of your marital status. 

You would have to show that you married your spouse “in good faith,” and that divorce wasn’t planned from the very beginning. 

Separation is something you should be careful with as in some cases it may be interpreted as either a divorce or a sign of a fraudulent marriage, which can end your chances of securing your LPR status. 

What if you are a battered spouse?

Sometimes the marriage ends because you are a battered spouse. Thanks to the Violence Against Women Act you probably won’t have to leave the country, but only if you follow the legal process. 

You would be eligible either for a U-visa or a VAWA green card. The path to a green card is faster and is generally the better option. 

Relationships can be difficult and risky at the best of times, and they become all the more complex when immigration is involved. Whatever your relationship issues, it’s important to work closely with a qualified immigration lawyer when your legal right to remain in the country depends, even in part, on how your relationship is going.

See also:

How to Get a Green Card For Your Fiancee

What Are the Grounds for Cancellation of Removal?

Avoid These 3 Green Card Sponsorship Mistakes


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