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.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: elin nordegren status Spousal Sponsorship Tiger Woods

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 American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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