A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Employment Authorization for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows battered spouses, children or parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents to apply for permanent residence (green card) on their own.

Certain battered spouses of nonimmigrant U.S. workers may also apply for employment authorization if they or their children have been abused by the principal nonimmigrant worker, according to a recent USCIS policy memo dated March 8, 2016 (PM-602-0130).

Pursuant to section 106 to the Immigration Act, a battered spouse of a nonimmigrant may apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) by producing credible evidence of abuse or extreme cruelty.  Such evidence could be police reports, medical record and photographs regarding any physical injuries, psychological evaluation, statements by credible witnesses such as friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members.

The applicant must also prove that he or she came to the U.S. with the principal spouse who belongs to one of these nonimmigrant visa categories: INA section 101(a)(15)(A) [diplomats, foreign government employees], (E)(iii) [Australian professional workers], (G) [other foreign government/international organization employees and representatives], or (H) [H-1B workers, temporary nurses, fashion models, etc.]   Documents such as visas, passport stamps, immigration notices, etc., can be used as proof.

Further, the applicant must show that he or she is or was married to the principal nonimmigrant spouse. The applicant still qualifies for EAD if the spouse died or lost qualifying nonimmigrant status (e.g. H-1B) because of domestic violence within two years of the filing the EAD application,  If an applicant's marriage was terminated as a result of the principal's abuse or extreme cruelty, the applicant may also apply for an EAD within two years.  However, if the applicant remarries before the EAD is approved, he or she will no longer be eligible for employment authorization.

To apply for an EAD, applicants must file the Form I-765V, Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse.  

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