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Información Legal: Federal

Inmigración

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Actualizada: 
17 de mayo de 2021

¿Qué es el perdón del esposo o hijo maltratado? How do I know if I am eligible?

Quizás califique para el “perdón de el/la esposo/a o hijo/a maltratado/a” si usted tiene la residencia permanente legal condicional como esposo/a (y a veces hijo/a) de un/a ciudadano/a de los Estados Unidos (USC) o residente permanente legal (LPR) y el/la USC/LPR le ha maltratado.1 Normalmente, cuando alguien tiene la residencia permanente legal condicional, esa persona tiene que enviar una petición conjunta con el/la esposo/a USC/LPR para eliminar la condición durante los 90 días inmediatamente antes del aniversario de dos años de la fecha en la que obtuvo la residencia permanente legal condicional.2 Sin embargo, si usted cumple los requisitos para el perdón de el/la esposo/a o hijo/a maltratado/a, usted puede pedir que la condición sea eliminada sin la ayuda de el/la agresor/a.1

Para determinar si usted califica para la autopetición bajo VAWA u otra forma de beneficio de inmigración, usted debe consultar a un/a abogado/a de inmigración con experiencia en VAWA. Para encontrar la información de contacto de organizaciones trabajando en el área de inmigración, por favor vea las organizaciones nacionales enumeradas en nuestra página Inmigración. Usted también puede encontrar la información de contacto de organizaciones de servicios legales en cada estado que a veces pueden tomar casos a bajo o ningún costo, y servicios que refieren a abogados/as que cobran aquí: Encontrando a un Abogado.

1 INA § 216(c)(4)(C)
2 INA § 216(c)(1)(A); INA § 216(d)(2)

¿Qué es el estatus de "residente permanente legal condicional"?

Para entender el perdón para el/a esposo o hijo/a maltratado/a, es necesario entender el estatus de residente permanente legal condicional. Si usted recibe el estatus de residente permanente legal (green card) a través de un matrimonio que es de menos de dos años cuando usted obtiene la residencia, entonces usted obtiene la residencia permanente legal condicional. También, si sus hijos/as obtuvieron la residencia permanente legal a través de una petición enviada por el/la esposo/a agresor/a, entonces ellos/as obtendrán la residencia permanente legal condicional también.1 La razón por la cual el Servicio de Ciudadanía y de Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service – USCIS) provee la residencia permanente legal condicional cuando un matrimonio es de menos de dos años y requiere una petición conjunta o un perdón para eliminar la condición, es para prevenir los matrimonios fraudulentos para obtener beneficios de inmigración.2

Una manera de determinar si usted tiene la residencia permanente legal condicional puede ser mirar a la fecha de vencimiento de su tarjeta verde (“green card”). Un/a residente permanente legal condicional recibe una tarjeta verde (“green card”) que es válida por dos años.3

1 INA §§ 216(a)(1), 216(g)
2Sitio web del USCIS – Enmiendas del 1986 sobre el Fraude por Matrimonio de Inmigración
3Sitio web del USCIS – Residencia Permanente Condicional

¿Quién califica para el perdón del esposo o hijo maltratado?

Usted quizás califique para el perdón de el/la esposo/a o hijo/a maltratado/a si cumple todos los requisitos enumerados a continuación:

  • usted tiene la residencia permanente legal condicional como esposo/a de un/a ciudadano/a de los Estados Unidos (USC) o de un/a residente permanente legal (LPR) porque su matrimonio era de menos de dos años cuando usted obtuvo la residencia; o usted tiene la residencia permanente legal condicional como hijo/a porque el/la esposo/a USC/LPR de su papá/mamá envío una petición a su favor y el matrimonio era de menos de dos años cuando usted obtuvo la residencia;
  • el matrimonio que es la base de la residencia permanente legal condicional fue un matrimonio en buena fe; y
  • durante el matrimonio, el/la esposo/a o hijo/a fue maltratado/a físicamente o sometido/a a crueldad extrema por parte de el/la USC/LPR agresor/a.1 Crueldad extrema es ejercer poder y control sobre alguien, e incluye, pero no está limitado a, lo siguiente: ser víctima o ser amenazado/a con un acto de violencia, detención forzada que resulta en daño físico o mental, maltrato psicológico, abuso sexual, violación, vejación, incesto, y prostitución forzada.2

1 INA § 216(c)(4)(C)
2 8 CFR § 216.5(e)(3)(i)

When do I apply for a battered spouse or child waiver?

Normally, you would file a “joint petition” with your spouse or parent to get lawful permanent residence without any “conditions” during the 90 days before your conditional permanent residence expires.1 If the spouse or parent who filed for you is an abuser, however, VAWA allows you to file a “waiver” of this requirement based on abuse.2 The abuse could have taken place at any time, even after your conditional permanent residence has expired.3 To avoid the risk of being placed in removal proceedings, however, you should file the waiver before your conditional permanent residence expires.

By filing for a battered spouse or child waiver, this means you won’t need your abusive spouse to sign any paperwork for you. Instead, you must work with your lawyer and domestic violence counselor to gather evidence of the abuse that you suffered as well as your “good faith marriage” and to file the correct paperwork. It will be very hard to get a waiver without help from an attorney and domestic violence advocate.

Our Immigration page lists national organizations working in the area of immigration law and our Finding a Lawyer page includes the contact information of legal organizations and lawyer referral services by state. You can find domestic violence advocates on our Advocates and Shelters page.

1 8 USC § 1186a(c)(1); INA § 216(c)(1)
2 8 USC § 1186a(c)(4)(C); INA § 216(c)(4)(C)
3Matter of Stowers, 22 I&N Dec. 605 (BIA 1999)

If my spouse was already married to someone else when we got married, can I still qualify for a battered spouse waiver?

If you married your spouse believing that it was a valid marriage but later discovered that your spouse was already married to someone else, you may still qualify for a battered spouse waiver. You would still need to show that you intended to marry your spouse in good faith and that your intended spouse subjected you or your child to battery or extreme cruelty after the marriage ceremony.1

1 INA § 216(c)(4)(D)

How can I prove that I got married in good faith?

To prove your case, you will need to show that you married your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in “good faith.” This means that you didn’t marry your spouse primarily because you wanted to get immigration status.1 However, it’s OK if one of the reasons you got married was for immigration purposes – as long as you also got married because you wanted to spend your life together.

If you are filing for a battered child waiver, you will need to show that your parent married their US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in “good faith.”

USCIS cannot require you to provide a particular type of evidence to prove that you married your spouse in good faith, and there is no magic piece of evidence that will provide definitive proof of your good faith marriage. However, common types of evidence include:

  • a statement from you in which you explain how your relationship developed and why you decided to marry your spouse;
  • birth certificates of any children that you have together;
  • photographs of you and your spouse at different times, in different locations;
  • evidence of your courtship, such as text messages, call records, emails, and letters;
  • evidence of shared financial assets or responsibilities, such as joint tax returns, joint property ownership, joint leases, joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, and shared insurance plans; and
  • statements from friends or family who were familiar with your relationship or your reasons for marrying your spouse.

If you are filing for a battered child waiver, you can work with your parent and your attorney to determine what evidence you and your parent can provide to prove your parent’s good faith marriage.

1 8 CFR § 216.5(a)(1)(ii); See Matter of Patel, 19 I&N Dec. 774, 783 (BIA 1988) (“Such marriages, entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, have not been recognized as enabling an alien spouse to obtain immigration benefits”) (citing Matter of McKee, 17 I&N Dec. 332 (BIA 1980); Lutwak v. United States, 344 U.S. 604 (1953); McLat v. Longo, 412 F. Supp. 1021 (D.V.I. 1976); Matter of M-, 8 I&N Dec. 217 (BIA 1958)); Matter of McKee, 17 I&N Dec. 332, 333 (BIA 1980) (“A marriage that is entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, referred to as a fraudulent or sham marriage, has not been recognized as enabling an alien spouse to obtain immigration benefits”); Lutwak v. U.S., 344 U.S. 604, 613 (1953) (finding no good faith marriage where there was “no intention to marry and consummate the marriages even for a day”); U.S. v. Rubenstein, 151 F.2d 915 (2nd Cir. 1945) (holding that there was no valid marriage where marriage was entered into solely for immigration purposes, and not for ordinarily understood purpose of marriage).

How can I prove that I suffered battery or extreme cruelty?

Once you establish that you married the abuser in good faith, you must prove that you were the victim of “battery or extreme cruelty” by your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse during the marriage. “Battery” refers to physical abuse. “Extreme cruelty” can include psychological or sexual abuse, as well as threatened acts of violence that result in mental harm.1 The term covers most forms of domestic abuse, including abusive acts that are not physical, such as threats to get you deported if you were to report the abuse to law enforcement. You should work with your domestic violence counselor to explain, in detail, all the forms of abuse you suffered. You should also explain any abuse that your children suffered.

USCIS cannot require you to provide a particular type of evidence to prove that you suffered battery or extreme cruelty. However, common types of evidence to prove battery or extreme cruelty can include:

  • a statement from you in which you describe incidences during your marriage when your spouse physically abused you;
  • photographs of injuries;
  • medical records;
  • police reports;
  • a letter from your domestic violence counselor or other mental health service provider;
  • an order of protection, which may be known by a different name, depending on your state;
  • documentation that you live or have lived in a domestic violence shelter; and
  • statements from friends or family members who can describe the abuse and its effect on you.

1 8 CFR 216.5(e)(3)(i)

Can the government tell the abuser about my battered spouse or child waiver application?

The government cannot tell the abuser anything about you, including the fact that you have filed a battered spouse or child waiver application. Your information is confidential, and it is illegal for the government to share it with the abuser. If you suspect that the abuser has contacted the government or that the government has shared any information about you with the abuser, you should tell your immigration attorney immediately. You may be able to file a complaint against the government.1

1 8 USC § 1367