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How to Notify USCIS of Divorce

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How to Notify USCIS of Divorce

Going through a divorce as an immigrant in the United States can be a challenging time both emotionally and administratively.

When getting divorced and you or your spouse have an ongoing immigration case or status through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it’s important to notify the agency of the change in marital status.

Failing to do so could negatively impact applications or potentially put someone at risk of deportation if their status was dependent on the marriage.

In this post, we’ll explore the process of notifying USCIS of a divorce in detail. We’ll cover who needs to notify, how and when to notify, what forms are required, potential impacts on cases, and important things to submit as evidence.

We want to give you a comprehensive guide to make sure all necessary steps are taken to keep USCIS informed during this transition. Properly reporting a divorce to the agency is crucial for ongoing or future immigration matters.

Who Needs to Notify USCIS of Divorce?

In general, you will need to notify USCIS if either you or your ex-spouse received an immigration benefit through your marriage that is still ongoing or if you have a pending application. Some examples include:

Conditional permanent residence: If either spouse obtained a green card through marriage and is still within the 2-year conditional period, divorce must be reported.

Pending I-130/I-485 applications: If an immigrant spouse had a visa petition (I-130) or adjustment of status application (I-485) pending based on the marriage, the divorce must be disclosed.

Derivative asylee/refugee status: If an individual received asylum or refugee status through a spouse, that status could change with divorce and needs to be informed to USCIS.

Pending or approved family-based visa petition: Any approved or pending visa petition filed by a US citizen or green card holding spouse on behalf of a foreign spouse would require notifying of divorce status.

So in summary, if either you or your ex-spouse is still actively benefiting from or has a case pending that relies on the marriage, USCIS needs to know about the divorce to assess if the benefit or application can continue independently.

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How and When to Notify USCIS of a Divorce

There are a few different ways to notify USCIS of a divorce depending on individual circumstances:

Notify by Mail

The standard method is filing Form I-508F, Request for Waiver of Requirement to File Form I-751 During the 90-Day Period Prior to Second Anniversary of Obtaining Conditional Permanent Residence. This form should be filed within 60 days of divorcing if coming off conditional permanent residence.

Otherwise, filing an explanatory cover letter informing USCIS of the divorce change and recent legal name (if applicable) will suffice for other case types. Mail to the USCIS field office or service center handling the original application.

Online Account Update

If an individual has an approved USCIS online account through myUSCIS, they can use that portal to directly report a change of marital status. Make sure to upload supporting divorce documents.

Infopass Appointment

Some prefer scheduling an InfoPass appointment at a local USCIS field office to notify in person. Come prepared with divorce decrees and related paperwork for the official record.

No matter the notification method, ideally report the divorce within 60 days. However, USCIS wants to know as soon as reasonably possible – even if longer than 60 days have passed.

The timing depends on the specific circumstances and immigration status at stake. Promptly notifying helps avoids issues down the line.

Forms Required for USCIS Divorce Notification

When filing forms or corresponding by mail with USCIS to report a divorce, it helps to include the following standard documentation:

Form I-508F (if within 90 days of second conditional green card anniversary) – This informs USCIS directly about removing conditions as part of divorce.

Cover letter – A short explanation of the changes, divorce date, new name if applicable, and relationship to immigration case.

Final divorce decree – The official court documents finalizing the divorce legally recognized by your state.

Marriage certificate – The original marriage certificate showing the marriage to spouse that supported benefits.

Photo identification – A copy of a driver’s license, passport or other valid photo ID with current name and biographic info.

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Additional evidence – Any additional details about the marriage termination like property settlements can help provide context to adjudicators.

Make sure copies of all filed forms and supporting documents are certified or with original signatures. Proper documentation is key to USCIS fully understanding the marital status change.

Potential Impacts of Divorce on Immigration Cases

When USCIS learns of a divorce through proper notification, they will assess whether the underlying immigration benefit or application can continue independently or if the case needs to be terminated, transferred or reopened under a different process. Here are some potential impacts based on circumstance:

Terminating conditional permanent residence – USCIS may terminate a green card granted through marriage if notifying of divorce before petition to remove conditions is filed.

Revoking approved forms – Previously approved family-based petitions or applications could be revoked if no longer supported by a valid marriage documented through divorce reporting.

Issuing notice to appear – Those reliant on marriage for nonimmigrant status like a dependent visa may receive a notice to appear for removal proceedings.

Allowing adjustment independently – Certain applications could still be approved independently even after divorce like an approved I-130 with a timely filed I-485 not requiring the petitioning spouse.

Transferring to a new application process – Some cases may be transferred to adjust status or apply through a different avenue not involving the prior spouse after divorce like asylum or a work permit.

Always disclose status changes fully to give USCIS discretion on determining next steps. With proper notification, potential negative impacts may still be avoided or mitigated depending on individual circumstances.

Additional Helpful Documentation for Divorce Notification

While the forms and documents specified earlier should adequately notify USCIS, there are some additional materials that can help strengthen a change of status report:

Marital settlement agreement – Outlining any alimony, child support or division of assets from the dissolved marriage.

Lease, utility bills or bank statements – Showing separate addresses and lives post-divorce rather than just the court order alone.

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Affidavits – Sworn statements from individuals aware of the marriage dissolution adding credibility.

Counseling records – If applicable, summaries showing marriage problems predated any immigration petition or application.

Children’s birth certificates – If any were born of the prior marriage, as additional proof corroborating the relationship.

Communications records – Redacted copies of messages, letters or emails between the spouses near divorce filing adding context.

While extra, these supplemental documents help paint a clearer picture for officers reviewing high-stakes cases impacted by divorce. They demonstrate the authenticity and timing of the relationship changes.

Important Reminders When Notifying USCIS

When closing out this guide, a few final reminders are important to stress regarding properly informing USCIS of divorce:

Meet all notification deadlines – Whether 60 days, 90 days or other specified timeframe, report status changes as promptly as possible to avoid penalties.

File all required forms – Make sure any applicable forms serving as the official notification channel like I-508F are fully and accurately completed and signed.

Submit complete documentation – Provide marriage certificates, divorce decrees, identification and any supplementary materials for clear understanding of the dissolution facts and impacts.

Retain proof of filing – Request delivery receipts, take tracking numbers for proof packages were sent in case follow-up is ever needed with USCIS on processing.

Follow up if necessary – If no receipt notices are received within 45 days, contact USCIS to ensure materials were associated with your file and addressed appropriately.

Consult an immigration attorney – For especially complex divorces affecting status, have a legal expert review notification plans and represent interests with USCIS if risks are present.

By thoroughly following this comprehensive guide, readers should feel empowered to properly notify USCIS themselves in the event of an immigrant marriage ending. But expert counsel is also a safe option for those unsure of complex impacts. With full disclosure, status changes after divorce have the best chance of being addressed smoothly.

Also Read: When to Hire a Divorce Lawyer Even If You Agree on Everything

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