Spousal Abuse and Immigration
The United States immigration laws provide protection for alien spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents suffering from battery and cruelty inflicted to them by their spouse. A battered spouse or child is free to self-petition for permanent residence on his or her own behalf. A cruel and abusive relationship is the basis for self-petition. A self-petitioning alien spouse must:
- Be of good moral character
- Qualify for immigrant classification as a spouse of a citizen or permanent resident
- Have resided with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Have good faith marriage
- During the marriage there was battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
The form that is used for self-petition is I-360. In addition to the form, a self-petitioner must include supporting documentation. First, there has to be proof of the abuser spouse’s U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. A copy of a passport, naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate or green card will satisfy this requirement. Second, evidence of good faith marriage must also be submitted. Third, proof that the self-petitioner resided with the abuser must be submitted as well. Next, the self-petitioner has to prove that there was actual abuse by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Evidence of abuse may included police records, court records, medical records and other similar documents. Finally, since proof of good moral character is required, the self-petitioner should submit local police clearance or criminal background check.
If you have been abused by your spouse and want to self-petition for a green card then give us a call.