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green card through prior marriage

Green Card Through Prior Marriage: Can You Sponsor Your New Spouse?

The excitement of a new love can be quickly overshadowed by the complexities of immigration law when you’ve obtained your own green card through a prior marriage. The question, “Can I sponsor my new spouse for a green card?” looms large, shrouded in uncertainty and conflicting information.

The 5 Year Restriction and Sponsorship Rule

Lawful permanent residents (a.k.a. green card holders) who divorce and remarry another person after getting a green card through marriage must wait at least five years after they get their green card before petitioning for that new spouse. 

There are three exceptions to this rule for green card holders petitioners: 

  1. Where the green card holder petitioner has naturalized and is now a U.S. citizen;
  2. The marriage through which the green card holder obtained his or her permanent residence was terminated through death.
  3. Where the green card holder establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the marriage through which he or she gained permanent residence was not entered into for purposes of evading the immigration laws; or

If you received your green card through marriage less than five years ago, sponsoring your new spouse becomes significantly more challenging. USCIS, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, will want evidence of the prior marriage. This evidence could include:

  • Extensive financial commingling and joining ownership:
    Joint bank accounts, joint property ownership, shared tax returns.
  • Birth Certificates:
    Birth certificates of children born to the green card holder and previous spouse.
  • Deep social connections:
    Sworn affidavits from third parties that affirm knowledge of the previous marriage. Documentary proof and pictures of shared social circles, community involvement together, interfaith marriages with strong religious ties.
  • Lengthy cohabitation:
    If you lived with your previous spouse, extensive documented proof of living together during the marriage.

Immigration law is complex and nuanced, with specific requirements and potential pitfalls. Consulting an experienced immigration attorney is crucial to navigate your unique situation and maximize your chances of success. They can:

  • Assess your eligibility and potential challenges.
  • Advise on the best course of action and required documentation.
  • Represent you throughout the application process and address any USCIS inquiries.

U.S. immigration officers may be concerned that the sponsor’s previous marriage was not bona fide if they believe it was entered into solely for immigration purposes. Marriage fraud is a big concern, and it’s important to have documentation and evidence that the original marriage and the current marriage are bona fide.

Call An Experienced Green Card Lawyer

We Help Immigrants Make America Home

If you need help sponsoring a sibling or other family member for a green card, call an experienced green card lawyer. United States immigration laws are complex and are updated frequently. If you have a question about immigration, contact Mario Godoy and the immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Chicago, Illinois at 630-345-4164.

AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office has 3 offices in the Chicago, Illinois area and helps clients in all 50 states.

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