If two foreigners come to the US with F-1 and F-2 visas, while they got married in their home country, if they file a divorce request in their own country embassy and it gets approved and they get divorce by their home country law:

1- Should the dependent person(F-2 visa holder in this case) leave the US as soon as divorce accepted in their home country?

2- If the dependent person wants to get married again but with a US citizen within the US, should s/he file a divorce also in the US or it is not necessary?

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    A divorce valid where entered into by a forum that has jurisdiction to do so under U.S. Constitutional law, is effective for purposes of U.S. law. A second divorce is generally not necessary. There is lots of case law on point regarding what is required to have jurisdiction, arising from an era where many people went to Mexico to get divorced when it was hard to do so in most U.S. states. But I don't know the answer to the rest of the question at this time.
    – ohwilleke
    May 7, 2022 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


On this point, US law isn't concerned with acceptance by a foreign country, it is only concerned with US law – under US law, are the couple divorced. When they are, the F2 visa holder is then out of status. Whether or not they should then leave the US is a complex personal question. They are not legally required to leave, as long as they adjust their status. When (assuming) they file their I-751 petition, they can ask for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. There is a chance that they will be denied the waiver if USCIS feels that the marriage was a sham marriage (which could be supported by the F1-holding spouses allegations in the divorce proceeding).

Assuming the couple are not yet divorced and the F2 spouse wants to marry a US citizen, they would need to first get a divorce. The usual pattern for divorce laws is that you must be a resident of the jurisdiction to get a divorce in that jurisdiction, and that jurisdiction gets to set its own rules for residency. Currently, Nevada requires 6 weeks residency by a party in order to file for divorce, but there is a meme that some decades ago, simple presence in Nevada was sufficient. As far as I know, no jurisdiction allows divorce proceedings to be filed by parties who are not present in that jurisdiction (which then implies "Yes, in the US").

  • Thank you so much. May I know is it possible for F-2 visa holder to file I-751 to remove her/his dependent status without getting divorce neither in the US nor home country? If so, can s/he get marry to a US citizen just after that or still it's needed to get divorce even when s/he removes her/his dependent status and previous marriage was happened out of the US?
    – GoodMan
    May 7, 2022 at 15:44
  • The I-751 instructions are at uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-751instr.pdf. Check the conditions for individual filing to see if you have a basis for the petition.
    – user6726
    May 7, 2022 at 15:54
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    As I read the form it seems it's for someone who obtained a conditional green card through her/his married, not a non-immigrant dependent visa like as F-2.
    – GoodMan
    May 7, 2022 at 16:08
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    @GoodMan "If so, can s/he get married to a US citizen just after that or is it still needed to get divorced even when s/he removes her/his dependent status and the previous marriage happened outside the US?": it is not possible to get married in the US while being married to another person. It is necessary to get divorced first. This is true no matter what immigration status anyone has.
    – phoog
    May 7, 2022 at 18:30

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