I met my husband in Laos when I was traveling there in 2017. We got married and he came to the U.S. K-1 visa in 2018. He got his temporary green card in 2019, which is good for two years. In the year 2021 things didn’t work out between us, and we separated. I did not file an application for his green card extension, so his green card expired already. Now he’s technically on no visa and no green card. He’s going back to his country. Does this mean our marriage is automatically cancelled? Once he goes back to his country, he can’t come back because of this visa violation.

  • 2
    divorce can happen remotely.
    – Trish
    Mar 25, 2021 at 9:38
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    Getting married is often surprisingly easy; getting divorced in all concerned countries (a sometimes high number: Both of your birth places, where you got married, where you got divorced, and where each of you lives now -- they can all be different!) can be surprisingly hard. Even between friendly countries like Germany and the U.S. it took a few months and 300 dollars to get the 10-year-old divorce of the American mother of my child acknowledged here in Germany (or else the husband in this "limping marriage" would be the legal father). Mar 25, 2021 at 11:26
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    Note that he can apply for Removal of Conditions on the basis of divorce if you guys divorce (including if he files for divorce). He doesn't need you to do anything to be able to stay legally in the US if he wants. If he's leaving the US, then it is for other reasons, not because he can't stay in the US.
    – user102008
    Mar 25, 2021 at 17:46
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    Can you clarify when and where you got married? The K-1 visa is for fiance(e)s, not spouses, but your question states that you married in Laos, so a K-1 wouldn't be appropriate. Since you converted from a K-1 to a green card, that implies that you also got married in the US... however you would have already been married, so the validity of the US marriage is up for question...
    – Dancrumb
    Mar 25, 2021 at 19:34
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    This is a sad situation. The application for the removal of conditions, which you/he failed to file, does not require you to still be together; it just requires evidence that the marriage was in good faith, even if it fell apart. Now he's facing a ban for no meaningful fault. Mar 27, 2021 at 2:37

2 Answers 2


Marriages are controlled by state law, immigration is governed by federal law. In no state is a marriage automatically "cancelled" for committing a crime, much less for violating an immigration regulation. So you will remain married until you or he changes that.

  • If he’s there then we can’t divorce online can we?
    – user37366
    Mar 25, 2021 at 0:13
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    @user37366: It'll depend on the state and on whether the divorce is contested. However, you should probably ask that as a new question. Mar 25, 2021 at 0:34
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    @user37366 for what it's worth, I got a divorce with my wife not being present. We did both have to sign something to say we were fine with it and she had to declare that she was OK with having the same lawyer represent both of us (this was a 100% amicable divorce), but she was living in the US at the time and our marriage was registered in Greece, and the divorce happened in Greece in her absence with no issue. Obviously the details will vary across jurisdictions but I would expect it to be possible if the two of you can work together.
    – terdon
    Mar 25, 2021 at 12:23
  • This answer supposes the marriage happened in the USA, but the question shows the marriage happened in Laos. A similar observation still holds, of course --- why would a Laotian marriage be annulled over a US immigration breach? Of course the marriage is still valid. Mar 27, 2021 at 8:41

You will be married to a person who is not allowed to enter the United States. But still married.

  • The marriage is presumably valid under the laws of Laos, since you married there.
  • The marriage is presumably also recognized by the United States, since they accepted it for the visa application.

So now you need a divorce that is recognized by both countries as well. Usually there are international treaties on mutual recognition. But if the marriage was made in Laos and your husband is there, divorcing from the US in an US court might be tricky. I think you should consult a specialist lawyer.

  • o.m. I appreciate the discourse but I only see a difference with no distinction in that you answers a question here made in the first person where even you yourself advised that it’s better answered by a lawyer. Kindly explain
    – kisspuska
    Jun 28, 2021 at 5:21
  • @kisspuska, the OP seemed to assume that a denied visa would "automatically" cancel a marriage. That's wrong and I said so. I'm confident enough of that to put it into an answer. On top of that came the advice that the right course of action requires a specialist, because I don't presume to know the right answer.
    – o.m.
    Jun 28, 2021 at 5:30
  • o.m. this implies that even questions seeking legal advice may pass, in fact, you may play an active role in directly answering them; I'm trying to politely point out the inconsistency in what you contended about the requested closure of my question on the embassy hypo.
    – kisspuska
    Jun 28, 2021 at 6:00
  • @kisspuska, that is a point. I cannot close questions on my own because I'm not a moderator, so when I see a question where the OP needs a lawyer I say so. In comments or as the preface to a partial answer.
    – o.m.
    Jun 28, 2021 at 10:51

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