Green Card as a Battered Spouse or Child

Those spouses or children (unmarried and under 21) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) and who have been subjected to abuse or extreme mental cruelty by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent, may benefit from special laws.

Normally, in order for a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or LPR to obtain a green card, the U.S. citizen/LPR spouse or parent must file a petition on behalf of and continue to assist the alien spouse or child throughout the application process. In cases of abuse or extreme mental cruelty, the U.S. citizen/LPR spouse or parent may refuse to assist his or her spouse or child in obtaining a green card. In such cases, the spouse or child who has been abused may independently file a petition with USCIS, known as an I-360 self-petition.

Abused spouses may also include their children and abused children may also include their non-abusive parent on the petition.

In order to qualify for an I-360 self-petition, an applicant must demonstrate the following:

  1. Bona fide qualifying relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. If applying as a spouse, one must show that they entered the marriage in good faith and not solely for immigration purposes;
  2. Proof of residing with the abusive spouse or parent;
  3. Proof of having been subjected to abuse and/or extreme mental cruelty by the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent; and
  4. Proof of good moral character.

Individuals may file a self-petition up to two (2) years after divorce from the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. In addition, if the LPR spouse was deported within the last two (2) years due to domestic violence, the I-360 self-petition may still be filed.

If the I-360 petition is approved, individuals may immediately qualify for a green card if they are an immediate relative or if a visa number is currently available. As an approved self-petitioner, they will qualify to file for a green card here in the U.S. even if they entered the U.S. without permission.

For additional information on the specific requirements for the I-360 petition or assistance in filing an I-360 petition, please contact our office.

For individuals who are a victim of domestic violence, but were never married to their abuser or their abuser does not have a legal status here in the U.S., please  Click Here for more information regarding Victims of Crime.