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It sometime happens that falling in love with an American citizen, moving to the US, and having a wedding here does not end up being a fairytale ever after that an immigrant dreamed of.
Unfortunately, some immigrants, often women, find themselves living with an abusive spouse in intolerable circumstances, and having no apparent way to obtain a green card to stay in the US.
Often, to control the immigrant wife or husband, the abusive US citizen spouse will “forget” to file proper immigration papers, or will not come to an immigration interview, or simply refuse to petition immigration services.
Luckily, US Congress acted to help immigrants who found themselves in this unfortunate situation.
An immigrant may self-petition US immigration services to receive a green card. The abusive spouse will not know about the self-petition for a green card, and the immigrant does not need help in this process from the abuser. There is no filing fee to pay.
In order to obtain a green card by self-petitioning as an abused (battered) spouse, the immigrant should show the following:
- You are a spouse or child of an abusive US citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- You entered the marriage in good faith;
- You now reside in the US, or in the past you have resided in the US with abusive US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;
- During marriage, your US citizen or lawful permanent resident physically, mentally, or emotionally abused you, or treated you with extreme cruelty ;
- You are a person of good moral character;
- Going back to your native country will result in extreme hardship to you or your children;
If the immigrant divorces the abusive spouse AFTER self-petitioning as an abused (battered) spouse, it will not be a basis for denial or revocation of an approved petition. Remarriage will also not affect the petition.
It is important to submit evidence showing that abuse actually took place during the marriage. Hospital or medical records, restraining orders, abusive spouse’s criminal records, psychiatric records, social worker records, and witness declarations are examples of evidence that may be included with the petition.
Both men and women can file petitions.
More information about:
WAVA or U visa?
Domestic Abuse Greeen Card
If you find yourself in a marriage with an abusive spouse, there are ways to stay legally in this country and obtain a green card. Our office can help petition immigration services for green cards due to an abusive spouse. Call us today 415-240-0083.