January 24, 2011: Will This Divorce Be Sufficient Immigration Purposes?
Will This Divorce Be Sufficient Immigration Purposes?
Hi, I need to seek legal advice regarding my fiancé’s case. He is an American Citizen residing in Florida. He was married in the Philippines but has been separated for 10 years now. His status in the United States is single; however, just to make things legal, he filed a divorce in the United States.
Now, he’s planning to file a fiancé visa for me. Does he still need to file for an annulment in the Philippines even if he’s already an American citizen and plans to marry me in the United States? Since he’s already living in the U.S. and an American citizen and we’ll get married there, he won’t be violating any U.S. Law right?
We need to know if the U.S. Embassy in Manila is still going to question his marriage in the Philippines if he’s filing it in the U.S. Your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Assuming that your fiancé met all of the legal requirements to file for a divorce in the state where he resides and a judge has entered a final judgment in the divorce proceedings, then his divorce should be deemed to be a legal termination of that marriage by the United States immigration authorities.
He should not be required to file any additional documentation in the Philippines to terminate this marriage unless the Philippines have laws specific to this issue. Your fiancé will be required to submit proof of the termination of the marriage to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) along with his fiancé petition, and at all of the stages of the fiancé visa process.
Also, since it is your intention to marry within the 90 day period after your entry into the United States with the fiancé visa, all prior marriages must be terminated so both of you are legally able to get married. The United States Embassy in Manila may ask questions about his prior marriage in the context of how it may affect the validity and intentions behind your relationship and eventual marriage.
Before your fiancé files any paperwork with the USCIS, it may be wise for him to consult with experienced immigration attorney to review the fiancé visa process.
Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys