Seeking an adjustment of status based on marriage to a United States citizen requires patience and confidence that the entire process will go smoothly. However, when there has been a change in circumstances that may alter the non-citizen’s immigration status, it is imperative to speak with an immigration attorney right away. A change in circumstances could cause a non-citizen to lose the opportunity to establish permanent resident status, and the non-citizen may be forced to leave the United States.
What Constitutes a Change in Circumstances?
There are a variety of situations that could be considered a change in circumstances that affect a non-citizen’s eligibility to obtain a green card and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Such instances include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- The United States citizen spouse and the non-citizen spouse divorce before the adjustment of status application is approved;
- The United States citizen spouse and the non-citizen spouse legally separate before the adjustment of status application is approved (it is important to recognize that the non-citizen spouse’s application for adjustment of status still may be approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), however, USCIS may use the legal separation as a factor in determining whether or not the marriage is valid); and
- The United States citizen spouse dies before the non-citizen spouse’s application for adjustment of status is approved (in such situations, the non-citizen spouse may still qualify for an adjustment of status based on marriage, but the spouses must have been married for at least two years without legal separation at the time of the United States citizen spouse’s death, and the non-citizen spouse must file an immediate relative visa petition within two years after the United States citizen spouse’s death)
If you believe you or your spouse’s application for adjustment of status based on marriage may be negatively affected by a change in circumstances, you should consider speaking with an experienced immigration attorney right away to discuss your options. The immigration process is confusing enough, so if a change in circumstances must be considered after an adjustment of status application has been submitted, you may need guidance to ensure that you take the proper steps to seek permanent resident or “green card” status.
The purpose of considering a change in circumstances when reviewing adjustment of status applications based on marriage is to ensure that each and every applicant has married his or her United States citizen spouse in good faith, and that the marriage is not a “sham” marriage. A sham marriage occurs when a non-citizen marries a United States citizen only for the purpose of obtaining a green card. Therefore, USCIS uses information regarding a change in circumstances to determine whether or not a marriage should be considered valid.
USCIS reviews each application on an individual basis, and a change in circumstances may or may not harm a non-citizen’s application for adjustment of status based on marriage. A qualified immigration attorney can help you determine if your case requires that certain action be taken in order to seek permanent resident status.
Contact the Immigration Attorneys of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or your spouse has applied for an adjustment of status based on marriage and there has been a change in circumstances that may affect your permanent resident status, you should speak with a seasoned immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine if certain steps need to be taken to help you stay in the United States lawfully. At Geygan & Geygan, Ltd., our immigration attorneys have the skill and knowledge to help you resolve your immigration needs. To schedule a free consultation with one of our immigration attorneys, contact Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. today by calling (513) 791-1673.