You can call 911 in case of emergency. Domestic violence is a crime regardless of your legal status. You have the legal right to keep your immigration status private. You do not have to tell the police or a shelter what your immigration status is.
Please contact Sakhi or local anti-domestic violence organization to discuss the possible immigration options and referrals to legal service providers.
There are options to get lawful permanent residency without your spouse’s help. Some options include:
Self-petitioning through VAWA. You can “self-petition” for lawful permanent residency for yourself and your children if you are married to a U.S. citizen or to a lawful permanent resident. “Self-petition” means you can ask for it by yourself, without your spouse’s help, but you do need a lawyer to help you.
Cancellation of removal through VAWA. If you are married to a U.S. citizen or to a lawful permanent resident and have been in the U.S. for at least three years, you can ask for your deportation to be suspended and for lawful permanent residency without the help of your spouse. If you are at risk of being deported, please talk to an immigration expert about this option.
Under a U-visa, you can obtain a temporary visa if you have suffered physical or mental injury from a crime, and you have been, are, or will be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. To qualify for this visa, you must participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution. Officially, “U non-immigrant, humanitarian, material witness visas” include a provision so that you can get lawful permanent residency after 3 years. This is available even if you have never been married to your abuser or if your abuser is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.