Getting a green card without your husband’s sponsorship

Article Category: Blog, Legal issues

[Disclaimer: I am not a legal attorney and the following is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney to confirm this information for yourself.]

Many immigrants who are married to a U.S. citizen apply for a green card through their spouse. But what if your spouse is abusive towards you and doesn’t want you to have a green card? What if you can’t count on him to support your green card petition? Fortunately there is a way to apply for a green card without your spouse’s support and without him even knowing you’ve applied.

The 1994 Violence Against Women Act includes the right of a wife to petition for a green card without her husband’s sponsorship if she can prove that she’s in an abusive marriage. Abuse can include physical abuse, rape, unwanted sexual contact, coercive control and emotional abuse.

The woman hires an attorney who helps her gather evidence of her legal marriage, any abuse, the citizenship status of the husband, evidence of her U.S. residence and other pieces of information. There might not be documented evidence of abuse, but that’s okay. Testimonial evidence often serves to prove that a woman is in an abusive situation. Such testimony can come from her, her therapist and witnesses to the abuse.

When the process is complete and it’s time for the green card to be mailed, it doesn’t have to go to the woman’s legal residence if she lives with her abuser. The green card can be mailed to another address of her choice or to her attorney’s office.

For details on how someone can petition for a green card without her husband ever even knowing, please contact a local immigration attorney. I’m NOT an attorney, and what I know about it, I learned from Renae M. Yoo, Attorney at Law in Chicago. You can reach her at

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