Certain Nonimmigrant Victims of Spousal Abuse Can Now Apply for EADs

On February 14, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the long-awaited application for employment authorization for abused nonimmigrant spouses (form I-765V). The new form allows certain categories of nonimmigrant spouses, including those in A, E-3, G, or H status, to now apply for employment authorization documents (EADs).

Background on Issuance of Form I-765V

On March 8, 2016, the USCIS published a policy memorandum that made victims of certain nonimmigrant abusive spouses eligible to apply for EADs, which would go into effect once the USCIS published form I-765V. The ability to grant work authorization in these circumstances is based on a provision in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was passed into law in 2005. With the release of the form I-765V, this immigration benefit is finally being made available, more than a decade after its initial Congressional authorization.

Eligibility Criteria for Form I-765V Employment Authorization

As explained by the USCIS, “to be eligible for employment authorization as an abused nonimmigrant spouse,” the applicant must submit credible evidence demonstrating that:

  1. The individual is a qualifying spouse who accompanied or followed to join his/her nonimmigrant spouse who was admitted to the United States in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status.

To establish a person is in a qualifying marital relationship, s/he must demonstrate one of the following:

A. Marriage to a nonimmigrant who was admitted to the U.S. in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status

B. Marriage to a nonimmigrant who was admitted to the U.S. in A, E-3, G, or H nonimmigrant status, and one of the following:

(1) The spouse died within the two years prior to filing of form I-765V.

(2) The spouse lost the qualifying nonimmigrant status due to an incident of domestic violence within the two years prior to the filing of form I-765V.

(3) The marriage was terminated within the two years prior to the filing of form I-765V and there is a connection between the termination of the marriage and the battery or extreme cruelty perpetrated by the former spouse.

  1. The individual was last admitted to the United States in A, E-3, G, or H status.
  1. The individual was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty (or the child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty) perpetrated by the spouse during the marriage and after admission to the U.S. in A, E-3, G, or H status.
  1. The individual currently resides in the U.S.

In addition, if the applicant remarried before adjudication of the I-765V, the application will be denied.

Those who qualify and are approved will be issued an EAD for an initial validity period of up to two years. The EAD can then be renewed in two-year increments. The EAD will not be available for renewal if the individual no longer meets the initial filing requirements or if the dependent spouse remarries. See the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Employment Authorized for Certain Nonimmigrant Abused Spouses (05.May 2016) for more information.

Content and Requirements on the Form

Form I-765V closely mirrors the format of the standard I-765 used for other EADs. The I-765V, however, differs in a few minor ways. The form asks for details about the applicant’s spouse, including physical address, I-94 number, passport number, and A number.

It is important to note that the form indicates that one should provide the requested information “if known.” Presumably, the applicant will not be expected to provide the requested information if doing so would place him or her in harm’s way. Additionally, the form requires information about the applicant’s current marital status. There is no filing fee or biometrics services fee for the I-765V application.


Form I-765V is the long-awaited implementation of an immigration benefit to vulnerable individuals. It not yet clear what level of scrutiny will be applied to these applications, but they no doubt will provide much needed help to many who have suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a spouse or former spouse.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.