As a battered spouse, you may apply for your Green Card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA provisions allow certain spouses of U.S. citizens, and of permanent residents, to file an I-360 petition for themselves, without the abuser's knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety, and independence, from their abuser. The abuser is not notified about the filing.
Help is also available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. The hotline has information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status.
You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also file as an abused spouse if your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. You may also include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves.
Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse
Qualifying spousal relationship: You are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser or your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing your petition.
You have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.
You have resided with your spouse.
If the marriage ends because of abuse, you can still file a VAWA petition within two years of the end of the marriage. If the marriage ends after a petition is filed, then it has no effect on the VAWA petition. If you remarry prior to the approval of your VAWA petition, the I-360 petition will be denied.
The law requires the self-petitioner to show either that she has been battered, or that she has been the subject of extreme cruelty, by the permanent resident or US citizen spouse. You do not have to show both.
CIS says that many things are included in abuse, including being physically hit, punched, slapped, kicked, or otherwise hurt. Sexual abuse may also qualify as "battery." In addition, CIS will consider emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, threats to harm or deport you, forcibly detaining you against your will, and other behaviors used to scare you. This is not a complete list, and USCIS will consider the total of the circumstances when deciding whether you have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty.
You must have lived with the abuser, though there is no exact length of time that you must have lived with the abuser and you do not have to currently be living with the abuser when you file for VAWA benefits. You can qualify under VAWA even if you only spent a short amount of time in the same home with the abuser.
If you are living abroad at the time of filing the self-petition, you may file Form I-360 if you were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty in the United States.
CIS needs evidence of the abuse. The usual evidence of abuse consists of police or hospital records or court-issued protective orders. The abused spouse should also submit a declaration describing the relationship, the abuse suffered, her good moral character, and anything else relevant to proving eligibility
CIS does not charge a fee for the I-360 petition for an abused spouse, and an Affidavit of Support is not required. All I-360 petitions are filed with the CIS Vermont Service Center.
Q.1. Can A Man File A Petition For Himself Under The Violence Against Women Act?
A.1 Yes, VAWA applies equally to victims of either sex.--------------------------------------
Q. 2. Can A Divorced Spouse file an I-360 to get a Green Card?
A. 2. Yes. You may file a Form I-360 if the marriage was terminated within 2 years prior to the date of filing, and if you can show a connection between the termination of the marriage and the battery or extreme cruelty. Your Form I-360 will be denied if you re-marry before the approval of the Form I-360.--------------------------------------
Q.3. What if My Abusive U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Spouse filed a Form I-130 on my behalf, which is still pending or was withdrawn?
A.3. If you are the beneficiary of a Form I-130 filed by the abusive spouse, you will be able to transfer the priority date of the Form I-130 to the Form I-360. This is extremely important for you if since it may result in an earlier priority date and a shorter waiting time for getting a green card.
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