Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Petitions for US Green Cards from Victims of Domestic Abuse
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can a man file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act?
A. Although the self-petitioning provisions for victims of domestic violence are contained in the Violence Against Women Act, they apply equally to victims of either sex.
Q. Must the self-petitioner remain married to the abusive spouse until the self-petition is approved?
A. The regulations only require that the self-petitioning spouse be married at the time of filing. After the self-petition has been filed, legal termination of the marriage will not usually affect the self-petition, but you may want to seek advice from an immigration attorney or legal advocate. Statutory changes, effective October 28, 2000, allow for the marriage to have been terminated (there are some restrictions) within two years prior to the date of filing.
Q. Can a divorced spouse seek relief through self-petitioning?
A. Statutory changes, effective October 28, 2000, allow for the marriage to have been terminated (there are some restrictions) within two years prior to the date of filing. A battered spouse who does not meet these restrictions may be eligible for cancellation of removal. This is provided for under Section 240A(b)(2) of the INA. To qualify he/she must meet the other requirements that would be necessary for approval of a self-petition and must have been physically present in the U.S. for 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the application for cancellation of removal. A self-petition will also be denied if the self-petitioner re-marries before filing or after filing and before the self-petition is approved. Remarriage after the self-petition has been approved will not affect the validity of the approved I-360 self-petition.
Q. What if the abusive US citizen/LPR did file a Form I-130 petition on behalf of the battered spouse which is either still pending or was withdrawn?
A. A self-petitioner who is the beneficiary of a Form I-130 petition filed by the abusive spouse will be able to transfer the priority date of the Form I-130 petition to the I-360 self-petition. This is extremely important for self-petitioners who must wait for a visa number as an earlier priority date will result in a shorter waiting time.
Also, make sure to read our website for information on the U Visa (Visa for Victims of Crimes), the T Visa (Visa for Victims of Human Trafficking), and the S Visa (Visa for Informants).