How long do my wife and I have to wait before we can divorce and she can still keep her U.S residency?

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How long do my wife and I have to wait before we can divorce and she can still keep her U.S residency?

My Iranian wife was an international student on F-1 visa from Sweden when we married 20 months ago in the US. I petitioned for her permanent residency 15 months ago. We are considering a divorce due to personal differences but how long do we have to wait to file divorce so that she will still keep her U.S. residency? We were told we must wait 21 months from the date of our legal petition, which would be in 8 months. Is this correct?

Asked on January 28, 2012 under Immigration Law, California

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If she has her conditional permanent residence, she might still be able to get the conditions removed on her own as long as she can prove that the marriage was bona fide at the time it was entered into and through its termination.  I would probably not suggest that you just remain legally married for the sake of appearances as this is bound to harm you more than just proceeding honestly.  The USCIS does tend to check on the actual status of the spouses by observing them and their comings and goings so if you plan to stay married on paper but not be in a bona fide marital relationship, this can easily be checked out and then she will lose her status.


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