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How Do I Get a Copy of My Divorce Decree?

Where to get a replacement or substitute for your lost divorce papers?

The U.S. government will require a divorce decree (sometimes referred to as a “divorce certificate”), a certificate of annulment, or a death certificate for each previous marriage if you have ever been married and want to apply for a green card based on your present marriage. Evidence of termination of prior marriages is also required for a fiancé visa (or K-1 visa). You may proceed to the next stage of the marriage green card process if you already have these papers or were not previously married. 

This article will explain how to get a copy of your divorce decree (or other evidence of legal termination of a prior marriage), or, what to do if these documents are not readily accessible.

Check to see if you’re qualified.

Who is required to attach a divorce certificate with their marriage green card or fiancé visa application?

Whether you are the sponsoring spouse (the U.S citizen or current holder of a green card) and the spouse applying for a green card, either of you that was in a prior marriage must provide proof of a legal divorce, dissolution, annulment, or other termination of your prior marriage. 

If you did not get a divorce but your previous spouse passed away, you must provide a copy of your spouse’s death certificate (and bring the original to your green card interview). Death of a prior spouse qualifies as a “termination” of your marriage for purposes of entering a new marriage.

You can submit a copy of the original or copy of the certified divorce decree/divorce certificate with your original application (Form I-130 Petition), and you MUST bring the original or actual certified copy of the final divorce judgment for each previous marriage with you to your green card interview.

What happens if I was married to someone previously but have not legally divorced them?

In some countries it is against the law, or extremely difficult, to get a divorce. In such cases, you can try for an annulment of the marriage. You will still need to prove that the marriage was legally dissolved/terminated in order to qualify for a U.S. green card and be eligible to file. This must be done prior to the initial filing as you must be eligible for the application when you are filing. The U.S. government does not allow you to submit your green card application prior to meeting the eligibility requirements.

What if the divorce certificate or divorce decree I have are not in English?

Records of divorce (or other evidence of the legal dissolution of marriage) that are not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Where do I Get a Divorce Decree or Divorce Certificate?

A divorce decree may often be obtained from the issuing court if you filed for divorce in the United States. Alternatively, you may ask for a certified copy from the vital records office in the state where your divorce was granted. The names and locations of each office that handles vital records are listed on the website of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), along with the current price for doing so.

Suppose you filed for divorce outside of your home country. In that case, you might discover details about the issuing authority there, including its name, the current fee, and the steps to get an official copy on the U.S. Department of State website. (To access additional information, pick your country from the list on the left-hand side of the page by clicking on the first letter of your nation’s name, then click the “Marriage, Divorce Certificates” tab.)

These providers may also provide death certificates and annulment certificates.

Alternative Documents

If you are unable to locate your marriage certificate or get a certified copy, you must provide both of the following documents in its place:

  • A personal affidavit that has been notarized in which you outline the details of your marriage and the reason you can not get a hold of a certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • A legal declaration from the relevant government body stating the reason your marriage certificate is not available

An extra notarized personal affidavit (written statement) from a parent who is still alive or a close relative older than you must be provided in place of a certified statement if you cannot get one from a government agency. They must certify having firsthand knowledge of your marriage and detail the following in the affidavit:

  • Their relationship with you
  • How they know about you and the extent of their relationship with you
  • How do they know the information they are providing in their sworn statement

If you have previously been married, Our Love Visa can ensure you have all the necessary paperwork for your green card application. Let’s get started

Our Love Visa makes your immigration process easy, fast, and worry-free, guaranteed. We provide you with complementary tools and resources free that help you plan your future in the United States together. Learn about how OLV is helping couples through their immigration journey.

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