Victims of Domestic Violence

Victims of domestic violence may be eligible for immigration benefits.

Some of these benefits require the victim to be married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Other benefits do not require the victim to be married.

Please note that immigration benefits are available to victims of physical or mental abuse. The immigration laws protect victims of “battery” which includes physical abuse, but also protect victims of “extreme cruelty” which includes mental abuse.

If you have been abused by your spouse or someone you live with, it is important that you seek help right away. You can contact our office to talk about your options, and our conversation will be 100% confidential so the abuser never has to be involved.

Below is a description of some of the benefits that may be available to victims of abuse or extreme cruelty.

Self-Petitioning for Visa or Adjustment of Status Eligibility

Victims of domestic violence who are married to U.S. Citizens or permanent residents may file their own petition – without a sponsor – and request permanent resident status in the United States. These applications can be completed confidentially, without the knowledge or involvement of the abusive spouse.

Please see our Family Based Immigration section for more information about obtaining a green card through visa applications and adjustment of status.

Cancellation of Removal for Victims of Domestic Violence

If you have been placed in removal proceedings and are the victim of abuse or extreme cruelty by a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident spouse, you may apply for Cancellation of Removal which allows you to live in the United States permanently.

You may also be eligible for Cancellation of Removal if you have a child with a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident and your child has been abused, even if you are not married.

Please see our Deportation & Removal Defense section for more information about Cancellation of Removal applications.

U visa

If you are a victim of domestic violence – even if you are not married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident – you may be eligible for a U visa which will allow you to live legally in the United States.

In order to qualify for a U visa you must be the victim of a crime, and you must show that you have cooperated with the police in the investigation of the crime.

Please see our U Visa section for more information about U visas.