February 7, 2011: When Can Battered Spouse LPR File for Citizenship?
When Can Battered Spouse LPR File for Citizenship?
I have a record of one domestic violence arrest before I got my permanent residence. My spouse actually lied to the police and caused my arrest. However, I got my green card after the arrest through an approved I-360 (self petition battered spouse). Can I apply for Citizenship after five years?
I am going to assume that the arrest was fully disclosed on the application for adjustment of status, and that USCIS approved the residence after due consideration of the arrest. If that is the case, and if the I-360 was approved based on marriage to an American Citizen, then you are eligible to apply for Naturalization three years after the grant of your adjustment of status. You do not have to wait the five years you mention.
You still have the burden of proving good moral character in citizenship proceedings, and generally the USCIS will look back three years for activity relating to your character. However, they can and sometimes do go back beyond the three year period and may consider the arrest. I would try and bolster the character issue and get affidavits from employers, clergy and others attesting to your character and supplement your application to be on the safe side. Good luck to you!
Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys