Wed | Sep 28, 2022

Immigration Corner: Immigration and changing marital status

Published:Monday | December 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My friend's mom petitioned for him when he was married. He has since divorced. How does he go about changing his marital status with immigration? Will he be moved from F3 to F1 category? He resides in Jamaica.

- P


Dear P,

Your friend has made a significant life change in the immigration process. Depending on where his petition is in the system with National Visa Center (NVC), if the petition has already been approved; or with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), if the petition has not yet been approved he needs to contact that particular agency and advise of the change in his marital status.

He would need to send a copy of the receipt notice or approval notice, along with the biographic page of his Jamaican passport, and a certified copy of the final divorce decree with a cover letter explaining his new situation and requesting a category change.

This change will definitely make a green card available to him much sooner. While this is positive for your friend, many other green-card applicants do the opposite, i.e., they marry while the filing process is pending, and do not notify the relevant agency, proceed to accept the green card as single and, in so doing actually commit immigration fraud. This also leads to them never being able to file for their spouse and exposes them to being deported from the United States as they accepted their green card when they were not eligible.

It is so important that persons who are being petitioned for are truthful during the process because committing immigration fraud makes their lives unsettled and leaves them permanently vulnerable to removal from the United States.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration 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.