Filing to Remove Conditions for Legal Permanent Residency for Battered Spouses: Choose Battered Spouse Waiver Over Divorce (May 23, 2023) [pdf]

Congress created the Battered Spouse Waiver to make it easier for immigrant survivors to remove conditions for legal permanent residency that would typically require a joint filing with the abusive US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse. However, due to the current evidentiary requirements, many immigration attorneys opt to take what appears to be the easiest route and file for removal of the condition based on divorce, rather than through the Battered Spouse Waiver. In this publication, NIWAP strongly urges professionals working with immigrant survivors to screen for battering or extreme cruelty needed for a survivor’s Battered Spouse Waiver application because of the following benefits for filing to remove conditions with Battered Spouse Waiver over divorce:

(1) Naturalization in three instead of five years;
(2) Greater access to more public benefits because the battered spouse waiver adjudication
results in an exemption from public benefits program deeming rules; and
(3) Exemption from the public charge ground of inadmissibility.