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There are unfortunately a lot of situations where immigrants who are married to United States citizens are abused by their spouse. They were brought to the United States by their spouse’s petition and are now trapped here in a marriage that has resulted in being the victim of domestic violence. The United States takes domestic violence seriously and does not tolerate it. There are ways for immigrants who are the victim of domestic violence to find protection from their spouse while still remaining within the United States.

Spouses are not the only ones affected by abuse. Parents and children may also be eligible for these protections if they are also abused by a U.S. citizen. The Violence Against Women Act allows abused spouses, children, and parents to petition for permanent residency independently. This can allow them to be safe in the United States and away from their abuser. Spouses who have been abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident can by eligible if they have been subject to battery but you lived with your spouse, are a person of “good moral character,” and you were initially married in good faith.

The requirements are similar for children and parents of an abusive person. For a child, they must have resided with the abusive parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you were in fact the victim of abuse. Your other parent may file for your permanent residency as long as you are under the age of 21. As for the parent of the abuser, they can apply for permanent residency if they were of “good moral character” and they lived with the person who abused them.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse from a United States citizen or permanent resident, you should contact an immigration attorney who can help you file your own petition for permanent residency as soon as possible to help you achieve safety and independence.

Please contact Cheryl David for a free initial consultation regarding immigration processes and questions. Cheryl is an experienced immigration attorney in New York City and would be happy to help you with your case.