Can an illegal immigrant get a divorce from a US citizen?

A friend of mine came to the US on a student visa that has now expired. While in the states, he got married to a US citizen, however he and his wife never got around to undergoing the necessary steps for him to become a legal citizen. His wife has now moved out of state and he has been unable to contact her for over 6 months. He has met a young lady who he is truly in love with who he wants to

marry. Can he divorce his estranged wife without being deported? Also, now that his student visa is expired, can he get married to his current girlfriend legally once his divorce is final?

Asked on September 13, 2016 under Immigration Law, Illinois

Answers:

SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, he can get divorced but he would need to speak with a family law attorney in his state to undertstand the proper steps that need to be taken in order to do it correctly and so as to allow him to remarry.  He will be able to get legally married to his current girlfriend once he is legally divorced, which may take a few months as these things vary from state to state.  Assuming the new girlfriend is a US citizen, she will be able to also petition for his permanent residence once they are legally  married.


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