Can I remarry my first spouse and petition her?

DEAR Atty. Gurfinkel:

I divorced my Filipina spouse and married a U.S. citizen who petitioned me for a green card.  Unfortunately, things did not work out, and I divorced the U.S. citizen.  I just recently took my oath of U.S. citizenship.

My first wife and I have rekindled our love and are thinking about getting remarried.  She is out of status, and I would like to petition her.  Do you think I will encounter any problems or issues if I marry and petition my first wife?

Very truly yours,


Dear JT:

There is nothing wrong or illegal about a person re-marrying and petitioning their first spouse.  However, USCIS will likely be concerned or suspicious on whether your marriage to the U.S. citizen was real or fixed, meaning you married the U.S. citizen only to get a green card.  Therefore, you might have to make a clear and convincing presentation about the bona fides of your marriage to the American, even though you are petitioning your spouse.

Let’s be honest: many times, a couple is truly in love, but agree they will divorce and one of them will marry a citizen in a fixed marriage, solely for a green card.  Sometimes they continue living together (or even have children together) while supposedly married and in love with their second (US citizen) spouse.  After getting the green card, or even U.S. citizenship, they divorce the US citizen and remarry their first spouse. 

In your case, if you remarry and petition your first spouse, although the interview and inquiry is supposed to be about the married couple, you will likely be questioned extensively about your marriage to the U.S. citizen.  If it truly was for love and you lived together with the U.S. citizen spouse, and truly fell out of love, then it may be worth pursuing a petition of your first wife. 

If the marriage to the American was fixed, you should not pursue the case, because you were not eligible for your own green card based on the fixed marriage, and USCIS could uncover the fraud and try to put you in removal proceedings or denaturalize you, if they believe your green card was fraudulently obtained.

That is why if you are pursuing a petition of a first wife, after having married and obtained a green card through a U.S. citizen, I would strongly recommend you consult with an immigration attorney, who can evaluate your case, and help prepare and document your case, including the marriage to the U.S. citizen.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.


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