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EAD: A Breeze of Hope for Certain Abused Nonimmigrant Spouses

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If a person entered the United States as the spouse of an A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant and has been abused by their spouse, they can now apply for employment authorization.

Starting May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants can apply for employment authorization (EA) (by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization). The conditions to be met are mentioned here. This was a big relief to many spouses (and their families) who were home in spite of their high education and years of experience working outside the US.

This February 14, 2017, the USCIS gives another present in form of employment authorization to certain abused nonimmigrant spouses. This is a result of the policy memorandum published by the USCIS on March 8, 2016. According to this memorandum, if a person entered the United States as the spouse of an A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant and has been abused by their spouse, they can now apply for employment authorization. Since 2005, VAWA which stands for the Violence against Women’s Act, allowed for employment authorization only to the abused spouses of US citizens and green card holders.

This memorandum is not only about obtaining work authorization but also provides for safety and independence from their abuser. This law applies equally to men and women. When the abused spouse applies for the EA, their spouse is not notified of this application. This employment authorization may be obtained under the  Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 106 and is initially valid for 2 years.

The Eligibility

For an abused nonimmigrant spouse to obtain an under INA section 106, he or she is required to demonstrate with enough evidence that:

  1. The applicant is the qualifying spouse who accompanied or followed to join his or her nonimmigrant spouse who was admitted to the United States in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status;
  2. The applicant currently resides in the United States;
  3. The applicant or his/her child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by their nonimmigrant spouse during the marriage and after his/her admission to the United States in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status;
  4. Were last admitted to the United States in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status.

How to Apply

Applicants are supposed to fill and submit Form I-765V, Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse. This form and the instructions for filling it can be obtained here.  Along with evidence of applicant’s admission to the United States on XXXX, their spouse’s admission evidence needs also to be submitted. In some cases, this might be difficult, but the applicant is still required to provide their abusive spouse’s some identifying evidence regarding such as name, place of birth, country of birth, date of birth, date of entry into the United States, I-94 number, employer, etc. The USCIS officers will conduct a search of the appropriate electronic systems to attempt to verify the qualifying nonimmigrant status of your spouse. Along with this, police reports, court records, medical records, social service agencies report, affidavits etc. have to be provided as an evidence of abuse.

There is no filing fee and also the biometric services would not cost anything to the applicant.

It should be understood that the issuance of employment authorization will not establish the abused spouse’s eligibility for or extend their lawful status in the United States. This employment authorization is renewal under certain conditions. For now, no matter how long ( at least 2 years), an abused spouse can make use of this authorization, this is definitely a step forward towards their self-dependence. It’s a breeze of hope that brings with itself the fragrance of positivity and a new outlook towards life, for a person who has been abused, as well for their children.

The team IMC wishes all such fighters, enthusiasm, and success in all their endeavors. We would like to urge our readers to share this article as much as possible so as to spread this good news. You never know, who may need this. A small step can change someone’s life in a big way.

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