Abuse and domestic violence are serious offenses and are not tolerated in the United States. Acts of abuse or violence against a spouse are considered criminal actions and come with harsh legal penalties if found guilty. Immigration for abused spouses is allowed for those who meet the specific visa criteria. Those who are abused, or battered, spouses may be provided an employment authorization.

Employment Criteria

There are specific eligibility requirements for employment. The applicant must be married to a qualifying spouse, or was married to such a spouse who died within two years of application. The requirements can be complex, especially when the spouse is no longer alive or when the marriage has ended.  Applicants must hold qualifying visas that include E-3, and H-1B, as well as non-profit organization visa holders.

Proof of Abuse

Applicants must be able to prove that abuse has taken place. This may include evidence of battery or of extreme cruelty, which was caused directly by the non-immigrant spouse.  Typically, documentary evidence such as medical records and police records will suffice. Although abuse is often a difficult subject to discuss, an experienced immigration attorney will assist you and guide you through this process.

How to Apply

First, an applicant must be sure they meet the requirements. If so, they may fill out form I-765V, an Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse. This form is new, and is available through the USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The required documentation must be included with the application, along with the appropriate fee. Once in place, a renewal is available after two years. The renewal is available only to those who are eligible.

Questions and Concerns

The United States recognizes that abused spouses require special immigration treatment. For that reason, they provide the program for non-immigrant abused spouses. The program is designed to help those who are victims of battering support themselves as they continue to live in the United States. The program requirements must be met before application. Therefore, it is helpful to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to determine whether you meet the necessary conditions. If so, your attorney will be able to help you fill out the forms and gather the documentation needed.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Immigration for Abused Spouses, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.