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Immigration, Divorce, and Domestic Violence


From the perspective of immigration law, it is easier and faster to enter the United States as the fiancée of a United States citizen than as a spouse.  Therefore, once USCIS issues your fiancé visa, things move quickly.  You must legally marry your partner within 90 days of arriving in the United States and then apply for adjustment of status so that you can get conditional permanent residency.  Many immigrants who enter the United States under these circumstances have never spent long periods of time with their spouses before marriage; it was a long-distance relationship punctuated by visits during which you were always surrounded by extended family.  Then comes a chaotic period of a few months where paperwork, travel preparations, and wedding preparations, where you barely have a free moment to think.  Once the dust settles and you are living in the U.S. with your new spouse, far from the family and friends you grew up with, you see a new side of your spouse.  Your spouse is short-tempered, impulsive, cruel, and downright scary, nothing like the person you thought you knew before you got married.  Meanwhile, your conditional green card is contingent on your marriage to your spouse.  Can you leave an abusive marriage without losing your green card?  There is a way to remove the conditions from your temporary green card without the participation of your U.S. citizen spouse, but you will need the help of a Mississauga U.S. immigration lawyer.

Can You Divorce Your Abusive Spouse Without Losing Your Green Card?

People who receive conditional green cards upon marriage to a United States citizen can apply to remove the conditions from their green cards before the temporary green card expires.  Typically, both spouses must sign the application, but this is not feasible in cases of domestic violence.  If your marriage has a history of domestic violence, or if your spouse has threatened to have you deported, you can apply for a battered spouse waiver.  When you file this waiver and USCIS approves it, you can go through the process of removing the conditions from your green card and get a permanent green card without your spouse’s involvement.  If USCIS has approved your battered spouse waiver and you and your spouse get divorced during this, the application for a permanent green card can still move forward.

Help for Domestic Violence Survivors Who Are Not Married to U.S. Citizens

The U visa category is available for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking who are currently undocumented or who are at risk of losing their immigration status.  You can be eligible for this visa category regardless of the immigration status of the person or people who abused you.  In order to obtain a U visa, you must provide information to law enforcement about domestic violence or human trafficking.  Three years after receiving a U visa, you can apply for adjustment of status and get a green card.

Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP About Complicated Immigration Situations

An immigration lawyer can help you get and keep a green card, even if you have experienced domestic violence.  Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP in Mississauga, Ontario to discuss your case.



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