Green card marriage issues
As Las Vegas immigration attorney who has handled many marriage immigration cases, I often see cases where the foreign nationals worry that their immigration status in the United States depends on someone else and the US citizens worry that the foreign national will divorce them after receiving a green card.
One of the most shocking things to happen to potential immigrants to the United States is for them to suffer abuse or domestic violence at the hand of their US citizen or permanent resident spouse. Many people come to the United States for a better life but wind up living a nightmare of silent abuse and domestic violence because they “do not understand the system” and lack legal representation. One immigrant victim of spousal abuse was so embarrassed she could not mention her abuse to family and friends until things took a dramatic turn for the worst. Her US citizen spouse, who would not speak to her for weeks at a time, became violent and threatened to kill her.
There are protections in immigration law for abuse victims
The most important thing that immigrants who are victim of domestic violence need to know is that they do not have to live with an abusive spouse to remain legally in the United States. They should consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible. For those who cannot afford an attorney, free or law cost legal counsel is available. The immigration law protect victims of domestic abuse. The burden however is on the victim to prove the abuse (mental or physical) using documents such as medical records, testimony by social workers, the affidavits from persons with personal knowledge of the abuse and police reports.
Know your rights as a green card spouse or K1 visa holder.
The USCIS recently issued a pamphlet titled “Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa.” The brochure tells holders of marriage visas and k visas about their legal rights in the United States and where they can get help. It also informs them about US immigration options that are available without the sponsorship of an abusive spouse.
Get legal advice before you act.
Oftentimes trying to leave an abuser may provoke a violent reaction. For this reason it, is normally highly recommended that abuse victims consult an immigration attorney and a domestic violence counselor. The two will collaborate to devise a plan to help protect the immigration applicant. The immigration attorney will also help by gathering supporting evidence for a self-petition, interviewing the abuse victim and helping with preparation of the applicant’s declaration. Put the matter into the hands of a competent professional. If you have any questions call us at 702-423-2721 to schedule a consultation to find your immigration options.
Read the USCIS brochure here.