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.)

Friday, April 6, 2018

EAD for Abused Spouses of Non-immigrant Workers

Domestic abuse can leave someone feeling trapped. The feeling is amplified when the victim is in a foreign country holding a temporary visa and dependent on an abusive spouse for immigration status and support.

The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act amended immigration law to include a supportive measure, Section 106, for spouses who face battery and extreme cruelty. The law grants an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the abused spouses of the following categories of nonimmigrants: A, E-3, G, H. This opens up more options for independence away from the abusive spouse. 

Applicants may request for employment authorization using form I-765V. They must be able to prove several things. One is that they are married to a qualifying nonimmigrant.  A legally valid marriage certificate should be sufficient. Their spousese must fall under the aforementioned categories of nonimmigrants.  If applicants are no longer married to the abuser, they may still be eligible if it must be shown that their spouse died within two years of the I-765V filing, lost their nonimmigrant status because of domestic violence, or the marriage ended within two years of the filing because of the related abuse. Also, they must show they were also last admitted to the States as a dependent nonimmigrant following his/her spouse under A, E-3, G, or H status.

The applicants must also provide sufficient evidence that they or their child were abused during this marriage. Proof of abuse must also be provided to support the application.  Abuse evidence can take the form of protection orders, police reports, court records, medical records, reports from social services agencies, and a signed statement from the abused spouse detailing the abuse. Signed affidavits from third parties who have personal knowledge of the abuse may also be submitted. Lastly, they must reside in the United States.

The required documentation and evidence are to demonstrate marriage, qualifying nonimmigrant status of both applicant and abusive spouse, the existence of abuse, and a timely application. There is no filing fee for form I-765V.  

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