A spouse or child subjected to extreme cruelty or battery may self petition for permanent residence. Evidence that the marriage was entered into in good faith must be shown. A self petitioning child must be under 21 when filing the application but will still be eligible even if the application is adjudicated after the child has already reached 21. Applicants are eligible for work authorization and deferred departure while the applications are pending. A child includes a legitimate child, a step child if the child was under 18 when the relationship began.
An Affidavit of Support is not required to self petitioning battered spouses and children. Even if a spouse or child committed a violent act, it may be waived by the Attorney General if the spouse or child had been subjected to extreme cruelty and battery but who was not the primary perpetrator and was acting in self defense. Spouses and their children who are present in the U.S. without admission documents and who are consequently inadmissible may nevertheless receive waivers if they have been subjected to extreme cruelty and/or battery by their spouse or parent when there is a substantial connection between the battery and cruelty and the applicant’s unlawful entry.
The battered spouse or child must prove that he/she resided with the U.S. spouse/parent, and was battered and/or subjected to extreme cruelty during the period the spouse/child lived together with the spouse/parent, that the marriage was entered into in good faith, and that the spouse/child has a good character and is otherwise eligible for permanent residence. Any credible evidence of battery may be considered even if the applying spouse was subject to bigamy if the applying spouse in good faith thought they were married; or if the abusing U.S. citizen spouse died within the past 2 years or if the applicant spouse terminated the marriage within the past 2 years because of extreme cruelty, the self petition would be valid. Even if the abused spouse has remarried an application would still valid.
Filing fees may be waived for abused spouses and children.
A battered spouse or child seeking to reopen an Order of Deportation may seek to reopen within one year of the final order. If the applicant demonstrates extraordinary circumstances or extreme hardship a Waiver may be obtained without a time limitation.
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