Physical or emotional violence by one spouse against the other can cause great upheaval and trauma in the victim’s life. And if the victim is an immigrant who depends on the abusive spouse for residency, we are adding an element of stress for the victim and power for the perpetrator.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), although its name does not indicate it, also extends to male victims of abuse. Because of this law, a person who is a victim of physical or emotional abuse by a U.S. Citizen or Resident spouse may apply for residency without the need for the abusive spouse to participate in the process, under certain circumstances and upon proof of the abuse.
In these cases, not only must the abuse be proven with documents attesting to the facts, but it must also be documented that the marriage was entered into for the purpose of living together in good faith, just like any other marriage. Consult with an attorney about the type of evidence that should be presented as evidence of abuse.
If the victim and the abuser have already divorced, and the divorce was the result of physical or emotional abuse, the petition may be filed within two years of the divorce. Divorce after filing such a petition will not automatically deny the petition, or revoke a petition already approved. However, remarriage before obtaining residency will result in a denial or revocation.
If you are reading this and feel in danger or are a victim of physical or emotional violence, seek help. Call the National Domestic Violence Protection Hotline 1-800-799-7233, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free throughout the United States. Service is in English or Spanish, with access to translators in 139 languages.
If you are going through a similar situation for fear of physical assault or emotional harm to you or your children, you do not have to expose yourself to it. There are ways to achieve residency without having to rely on whoever is assaulting you. No one has to live in fear of any kind.
Cuídese de los notarios, consultores en inmigración o cualquier persona no calificada y preparada en estos temas. Siempre busque la asesoría y los servicios de un abogado de inmigración para sus procesos y trámites migratorios.