Spousal abuse may occur in various forms: physical/emotional, violent/nonviolent, direct and indirect. If you are filing to remove the conditions on your US residency status under this waiver category, you will need to provide detailed evidence to support your claim. While this portion of the process may trigger discomfort and distress, it may be the information necessary to warrant the approval of visas for you and your affected children.
Unfortunately, it happens too often that a US citizen spouse may abuse his/her power in the relationship over the immigrant spouse and children. The abuser may gain control over you and the marriage primarily through threats of maintaining your lawful status. The following are common indicators of abuse within the marriage:
- Battery (physical violence e.g. punching, slapping, infliction of bodily injury);
- Threats to report you to USCIS;
- Threats to physically hurt you;
- Isolation/Disassociation from your friends and family;
- Disallowing you to leave the house, get employment;
- Withholding food and money;
- Name calling or public humiliation.
If you’ve been victimized by any of these actions by your spouse, it is important to: (1) seek help; and (2) try to document specific instances within your I-751 petition. Note dates, occurrences, the action that ensued, etc. If you are proving to be a victim of battery and domestic violence, provide photos and medical/police reports, if applicable. Evidence that you have tried to seek help or shelter may be helpful to your application, too. If you are proving nonviolent instances of abuse, affidavits from witnesses and social workers are beneficial to your waiver. The fact that others have witnessed or are aware of the harmful situation you are in is key to show that your claim of spousal abuse is authentic.