Moving to the United States to be with your spouse can be exciting. However, once you arrive, you may find that your partner is not the person you thought he or she was.
If your spouse has become abusive toward you, you must consider your safety. As an immigrant, divorce can be a frightening prospect. However, the Violence Against Women Act provides legal protection for noncitizens in your position.
Can you still get a green card if you divorce?
Normally, if you want to apply for immigration as the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you need to be in a valid legal marriage at the time you file your petition. The law provides exceptions to this rule if you divorce your spouse due to cruelty or abuse.
After divorcing an abusive spouse, you have two years to file your immigration petition.
What evidence do you need?
Generally, you will need to provide evidence of your divorce, such as a divorce decree. The divorce decree does not have to mention abuse or cruelty as the specific legal grounds for divorce. However, you will likely need to provide evidence of the abuse, such as witness statements.
USCIS may request evidence that you entered the marriage in good faith.
Can you marry someone else?
If you want to remarry, you should wait to do so until after USCIS approves your petition. Remarrying before approval can cause USCIS to reject your petition.
Leaving an abusive spouse can be intimidating. United States immigration laws include provisions for noncitizens to leave their abusers, so you need not feel trapped in an abusive marriage.