Clarification of how to count marriage duration for IR-6 visa eligibility

Woman applying for visa in US immigration office

The IR-6 immigrant visa is a family-based immigration option that allows foreign spouses of U.S. citizens who have been married for less than two years to enter the United States as lawful permanent residents. However, if the marriage ends in divorce before the foreign spouse receives their green card, it can impact their eligibility for an IR-6 visa. In this article, we will discuss the validity of IR-6 visa eligibility if the marriage ends in divorce and what applicants need to know to ensure they meet this requirement.

The Importance of Marriage Duration for IR-6 Visa Eligibility
To qualify for an IR-6 visa, the foreign spouse must be married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years at the time of filing the visa application. This requirement is designed to prevent fraudulent marriages that are entered into solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. As such, if the marriage ends in divorce before the foreign spouse receives their green card, they may no longer be eligible for an IR-6 visa.

Impact of Divorce on IR-6 Visa Eligibility
If the marriage ends in divorce before the foreign spouse receives their green card, they may no longer be eligible for an IR-6 visa. This is because the IR-6 visa is a family-based immigration option that is contingent on the existence of a valid marriage. Once the marriage ends, the foreign spouse no longer has a basis for immigration through the IR-6 visa.

Exception for Abusive Relationships
In some cases, the foreign spouse may still be eligible for an IR-6 visa if the marriage ended in divorce due to abuse or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse. In these cases, the foreign spouse may be able to file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and obtain an immigrant visa without the sponsorship of their U.S. citizen spouse.

Alternative Options for Immigration
If the foreign spouse is no longer eligible for an IR-6 visa due to divorce, there may be other options for immigration available. For example, they may be able to apply for a different family-based immigration option, such as the IR-5 visa for spouses of U.S. citizens who have been married for more than two years. Alternatively, they may be able to apply for a work-based visa, such as an H-1B visa or an O-1 visa.

Proving Validity of Marriage
To prove the validity of their marriage, IR-6 visa applicants must provide evidence that they entered into the marriage in good faith and not solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. This evidence may include joint bank account statements, lease agreements, utility bills, and affidavits from family and friends attesting to the authenticity of the marriage. If the marriage ends in divorce before the foreign spouse receives their green card, they may need to provide additional evidence to show that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not solely for immigration purposes.

Common Issues with Divorce and IR-6 Visa Eligibility
While the impact of divorce on IR-6 visa eligibility may seem straightforward, there may be issues that arise when trying to prove the validity of the marriage. Common issues include the lack of evidence of a bona fide marriage, inconsistencies in documentation, and discrepancies between documentation and other information provided in the visa application. To avoid these issues, applicants should provide as much evidence as possible, ensure consistency in all documentation, and be honest about the reasons for the divorce.

Conclusion
The validity of IR-6 visa eligibility is contingent on the existence of a valid marriage. If the marriage ends in divorce before the foreign spouse receives their green card, they may no longer be eligible for an IR-6 visa. However, there may be exceptions for cases involving abuse or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse,

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