What evidence do you have to submit with your I-751 Waiver Petition to prove that you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse?

Posted on Jan 05, 2023

One of the available I-751 waivers is based upon a claim that the petitioner has been “battered or subjected to extreme cruelty” by his or her U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse during the marriage. Regulations define battery or extreme cruelty as “any act or threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention, which results or threatens to result in physical or mental injury.” Acts of violence include “psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation, including rape, molestation, incest [if the victim is a minor] or forced prostitution.”

As with any petition, if you are filing an I-751 waiver based upon a claim that you have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty, the outcome of your case will depend on the strength of the evidence that you present. For claims involving physical abuse, you can submit “any credible evidence” including, but not limited to, “expert testimony in the form of reports and affidavits from police, judges, medical personnel, school officials, and social service agency personnel.” This would include police reports, medical records, photos of physical injuries, and documents from shelters, hotlines, or individuals that you may have consulted with in the medical or mental health fields.

You should also submit a personal statement that details the nature and extent of the abuse that you suffered. It may also be helpful to provide supporting letters from friends, family members, or domestic violence advocates who can attest to the abuse you have suffered. The best support letters will be written by individuals with whom you shared your experiences while you were living through the abuse.

As for claims involving “extreme cruelty” or mental cruelty, regulations require that you furnish independent evidence from “a professional recognized by the [USCIS] as an expert in the field.” This is strictly limited to licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Note also that the name, address, identification number, and licensure of the professional must be included in any report that is submitted with the I-751.

A final category of evidence that you will definitely want to include is evidence or documentation that was created or provided to you by your abusive spouse. This would include letters, notes, or emails with threats of action (or inaction) or which otherwise demonstrate a pattern or intent of inflicting physical or emotional harm upon you, or threats of doing something hurtful such as preventing you from seeing your child, terminating their support for your immigrant petition with USCIS, or destroying your personal property or prized possessions, for example.

If you need assistance or legal representation with your I-751 waiver petition based on a claim that you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, contact U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel to schedule a consultation.

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