Abusive or Battered Spouse I-751

Abusive Or Battered Spouse I-751

I am a conditional resident, married to an American citizen. My wife won’t let me go anywhere or do anything. Sometimes she hits me with her hand or objects. I have already filed to remove the conditional residence status in April of 2008. Do I have to stay with her and take this abuse or is there something I can do?
— Anonymous

If you fear for your safety and well-being, you should immediately contact the police and file for a restraining order.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread perception that immigrants must stay in an abusive relationship and cannot get divorced for fear that they will not be able to keep their permanent resident status if they leave the relationship and get divorced. This is an unfortunate misconception. Assuming you married your United States citizen spouse because you loved her, and not for the primary purpose of gaining an immigration benefit, you can file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, as a good faith marriage waiver. The caveat is that you can only file the I-751 as a waiver if you are divorced at the time the I-751 is filed.

Also, it is important to note that the I-751 petition that you filed as a “joint petition” with your spouse does not automatically convert into an I-751 “good faith waiver”. Rather, you must file a brand new I-751 with all of the necessary supporting documentation that proves that you had a good faith marriage when you are divorced. Furthermore, once the divorce is final, your status as a lawful permanent resident will automatically terminate. Thus, it is extremely important that you file the I-751 waiver very soon after the divorce becomes final.

Another option is to file the I-751 as a spouse who entered a marriage in good faith, but during the marriage, you were battered by or subjected to extreme cruelty your United States citizen spouse. This does not require that you be divorced, but it does require that you submit documentation of the abuse.

If you have further questions relating to the filing of an I-751 waiver, you should contact an immigration attorney who has extensive experience in I-751 waivers and its requirements.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys
Last updated: September 15, 2008

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