Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren and Spousal Sponsorship Petitions
Spousal sponsorship and the Tiger Woods debacle
I knew you would say that.
Unless you are on a desert island, you have heard about Tiger’s alleged transgressions concerning marital infidelity. As an immigration lawyer dealing with legal issues on a daily basis, I nevertheless get transfixed by the same gossipy headlines that everyone else does. But my world is seen though a slightly different lens. I find myself reading the latest TMZ alerts from an “immigration perspective”.
Present case: I have no knowledge of Mrs. Woods (Nordegren) US immigration history. I know she is Swedish and was not born in the US. She was a nanny at one time and was introduced to Tiger by a fellow golf pro. Given these facts, it may be reasonable to assume but by no means is certain, that Tiger sponsored Ms. Nordegren for US Permanent Residence via Spousal Sponsorship Petition. Tiger (or his lawyers), like all US citizens, would have to have filed the necessary paperwork in order to have his bride obtain legal US status. Ms. Nordegren, the applicant beneficiary would have to undergo an immigration interview as part of the process. I would certainly like to have been that “fly on the wall” witnessing the USCIS officer question Elin about her “knowledge” of her Tiger’s life: “So Ms. Nordegren, do you know what your husband does for a living?”. You get the point.
What happens when a marriage breaks up after spousal sponsorship is involved?
Now that Tiger has made his confession in the carefully worded way notables do, I can’t help but think about how fragile and vulnerable relationships can be and how the immigration system is such a blunt instrument. File the paperwork, attend the interview, wait, wait and wait and viola. A new Permanent Resident is born! Now that she has US status, she has all the rights and privileges of a disgruntled US wife. Watch out.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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