COVID-19 UPDATE: USCIS HAS RESUMED APPOINTMENTS. CONSULTATIONS AVAILABLE BY PHONE OR VIDEO.
Lee & Garasia, LLC
  • Tel: 732-516-1717
  • Toll free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence for Over 20 Years
  • "Lee and Garasia are excellent lawyers, punctual and professional. They are dedicated to going above and beyond the usual level of service to meet your client's needs. Their staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and polite. I would highly... recommend this firm to anyone." Read More

  • "I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate." Read More

  • "I would like to thank my lawyer Mr Lee & Garasia and the staff for all immense help and patience throughout this entire process, I really appreciate your constant attention to my case, as well to my questions and my concerns. You've really made this process much more comprehensive to me, which I greatly appreciate." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!" Read More

  • "Stalin - Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs." Read More

  • "Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work.He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

  • "Lee & Garasia stand for accountability and responsibility. They are reliable, honest and are always constructively looking for a solution. A big thanks :)" Read More

When Can Victims of Abuse and/or Extreme Cruelty File for Citizenship?

One of the most frequently misunderstood provisions of naturalization is the timing eligibility. While the vast majority of lawful permanent residents must apply after five years continuous residence, the immigration law also provides that some spouses of U.S. Citizens may apply after only three years. In general, the permanent resident spouse must demonstrate, among other things, that he/she has been a resident for three years; been physically present within the United States for at least half that time; and been living in marital union with the US citizen spouse for at least three years before filing. What happens though if a lawful permanent resident is abused by his/her citizen spouse? Or what if someone is granted lawful permanent residence after demonstrating that he/she has been the subject of abuse through a Violence Against Women ("VAWA") petition (filed on the I-360)? How does the immigration law treat these classes of people with respect to when they apply for naturalization?

Fortunately, the USCIS does recognize that individuals in these types of situations should not be penalized on account of their abusive spouses/ex-spouses. INA Section 319(a) was amended through the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 to allow spouses and ex-spouses who have obtained green cards, on the basis of being battered or the victim of extreme cruelty by their marital partner, to apply after three years. In order to be eligible, the applicant must have procured permanent residence through either

•· An approved I-360 petition as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen

•· An approved I-360 petition as the spouse of a lawful permanent resident if the abusive spouse naturalizes after the petition has been approved

•· Cancellation of removal based on battery or extreme cruelty

•· An approved I-751 waiver to remove conditions on residence if the marriage was entered into good faith and the foreign spouse was subject to battery or extreme cruelty by the US Citizen or LPR spouse

An individual who falls into any of above classes is specifically exempted from the requirement of living "in marital union" with the US Citizen spouse for at least three years. To require otherwise would be counterintuitive and essentially penalize abused green card holders from filing self-petitions on account of their abusive partners. However, it is important to note that the applicant must otherwise meet all the other requirements for naturalization, including passing the English and civics portions of the test. Additionally, the applicant must still satisfy the physical presence and continuous residence requirements and show good moral character for the three years in question. If the applicant has poor proficiency with English; lacks knowledge of American history; has any criminal charge; or has taken long trips (180 days or more is a flag), an application for naturalization may be problematic. Furthermore, an immigration service officer (ISO) will likely review the applicant's "alien file" or "A file" to determine how the applicant procured residence, especially if one is applying on this basis. If there are any irregularities or issues in terms of how the applicant secured permanent residence (ie., the application was improvidently granted or misrepresentations were made), it would be prudent to consult with an attorney before rushing to file an application.

The above is general information only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship nor should it be relied upon as advice in lieu of consultation with an attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
Email Us For A Response

Start Your Case Evaluation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

Map & Directions

icon phone732-516-1717 icon phone888-404-5876