Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Immigration Corner | Marriage soured, so I'm going home

Published:Tuesday | December 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Divorced couple

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I came to the United States (US) on a K-1 fiancÈ visa. Prior to that, I had a visitor's visa. Since coming to the US, I've fulfilled all requirements and received my conditional green card. My marriage, however, has soured and I am thinking about voluntarily giving up my green card at the end of the two-year period.

Can I assume my visitor's visa is still valid? During my travels, no form of endorsements or any markings of any kind was ever done to the passport page with the visitor's visa.

Even though I'm going back home I would still love to be able to visit America as most of my family resides in the US.

- I.W.

Dear I.W.,

Although your marriage may be over, you are not precluded from obtaining a 10-year permanent green card. You would be required to be divorced and file by yourself to remove the condition on your two-year green card and request a waiver of the joint-filing requirements. You would also have to demonstrate that you lived with your wife - regardless of how limited that time might have been, and commingled assets and debts, etc.

I am not sure from your email if your returning home is by choice or because you believe that the end of your marriage would prevent you from gaining your 10-year permanent card. In the realm of fiancÈ sponsorships, if you enter the US on the K-1 fiancÈ visa and do not marry the fiancÈ who petitioned for you within 90 days, then you must return to your home country, as you would then be unable to change your status from a K-1 to any other category.

Your visitor's visa was cancelled as you are unable to have non-immigrant and immigrant status at the same time. This is so notwithstanding the fact that the page in your passport with the visitor's visa may not have been stamped 'cancelled'. If you choose to voluntarily relinquish your permanent residency status and return home, you would be required to make a new application for a non-immigrant visa to visit the US.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration and international law in the United States; and family, criminal, and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.