Abused Spouse Waiver

Things do not always go as you planned. The fairy tale ending you envisioned with your spouse sometimes dissolves into a nightmare of abuse. For an immigrant who was granted a conditional resident or Green Card as the result of their marriage, abuse can be especially frightening. At the Law Offices of Simone Bertollini, I can help you break free and get you on your way to attaining permanent resident status through a battered spouse waiver.

What is I 751 Waiver

Traditionally, when an immigrant marries a U.S. citizen, he or she is granted conditional resident status. The conditional position was created in an attempt to weed out those who marry simply for citizenship. After a two-year period, both spouses must jointly file to have the conditional status removed. Permanent residency for the foreign national can then be granted.

For victims of domestic violence, however, two years can be an eternity and life-threatening. As a New Jersey immigration lawyer, I can tell you there is help. It is possible to have the conditional status removed for you and your children if you are the victim(s) of abuse. Your spouse does not have to agree or even know about your petition for a battered spouse waiver. Contact me today for information on how to get started.

When to file i-751 waiver

In order to receive your 10-year permanent resident card, you will need to file a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (USCIS Form I-751) and request what is commonly referred to as a battered spouse waiver. If granted, this waiver eliminates the need for your spouse's consent. The applicant will be granted permanent residence status if the petition is approved.

You can file Form I-751 at any time if you have a final order of divorce or annulment. That is true even if your conditional green card is not close to its expiration date. However, what if you have not filed for divorce yet or if your divorce is not finalized yet?

In such a case, you have a few options:

  1. Remain married and file Form I-751 with a waiver based on "extreme hardship" or "battery or extreme cruelty" if either applies to you.
  2. File for divorce and mail the Form I-751 with evidence that you have initiated divorce proceedings (though this is problematic in that USCIS really prefers to see a final divorce order before issuing an approval), or
  3. Wait until your conditional residence expires and you are placed into removal proceedings to file for a waiver.

What happen if you divorce before becoming a Permanent (Not Conditional) Resident?

The divorce waiver become a logical choice for you, if you obtain a final order of divorce before the two-year conditional period has ended. Your task will be to convince the USCIS that valid reasons exist to allow an exception to the joint filing requirement, by showing that your marriage was "bona fide" or genuine at the time and was not a mere "business transaction" to skirt immigration laws.

What happens next?

I wish I could say it was easy as 1-2-3, but with as with most matters of government, it is not. The documentation required and the proper way to file your petitions can be overwhelming and extremely confusing. In addition, most petitions for a waiver of the joint petition requirement are decided after a personal interview with a USCIS officer. As a New Jersey immigration lawyer, I can help you every step of the way. I have personal experience with the immigration process, and I can help you get the best result in your case. The Law Offices of Simone Bertollini is ready to assist you remove the conditions on permanent residency by filing an abused spouse waiver in New Jersey or New York.

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