Q: My brother of Indian origin was married here in California to a U.S. citizen. After five months of an abusive marriage his wife threw him out of the home and withdrew his I-130 and I-485 applications. Then he filed his I-360 as a battered spouse. Subsequently he received prima facie determination and may be called for an interview soon. Is it true that USCIS may interview his wife to verify the facts?

A: Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain permanent residency. This provision provides relief to a battered spouse (husband or wife), parent of a child who has been abused by the U.S. citizen or LPR, or a battered child (under 21 and unmarried). In addition, your brother must establish that the battery took place during the marriage and in the United States; and your brother has good moral character and entered into this marriage in good faith. Since your brother has received a prima facie determination, it appears that he may have addressed the requirements and has been able to provide the necessary evidence. The Notice of Prima Facie Determination is valid for 150 days and during this time, USCIS is certainly open to considering additional facts or evidence, including interviewing the abusive spouse. If satisfied, CIS will then approve the I-360.

Q: My family applied for a V visa with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in February 2004. They did not receive an interview letter. Meanwhile, I received a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) through my lawyer for applying for an immigrant visa. I filed my application and NVC sent my case to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi on May 24, 2005. My family has not heard from the embassy since. Does not attending an interview for that V visa have any bearing on this application?

A: It should not. Have your lawyer contact the U.S. Consulate in New Delhi to check the status. Please remember that some U.S. Consulates have a huge backlog.

Q: I am a green-card holder and my husband is a permanent resident in the United States. I need to stay in India for an urgent family matter. After several days I want to come back here. To which address can I send my application for re-entry permit, and how soon can I get it?

A: An application for re-entry permit is filed at the Nebraska Service Center. However, please keep in mind that generally if you are returning to the United States in less than a year, you may apply for re-admission by presenting your green card (unless you have had multiple absences). If you plan to remain outside the United States for more than a year, you require a re-entry permit. Please note that an absence of more than one year will break the period of continuous residence required to become a citizen even if a re-entry permit is issued. Finally, it is currently taking about eight weeks for re-entry permits to be processed at the Nebraska Service Center.

Q: I am a U.S. permanent resident and based on my petition my son got a green card and came to the United States in March 2004. Then he returned to India with a two-year re-entry permit in May 2004, got married, and now has a son. He filed a petition for his wife and son in July 2005. Meanwhile, can he apply for a visitor visa for his family to visit the United States?

A: Your son can certainly try, but I believe that they may not obtain the visitor visa, particularly as he has already filed an immigrant visa petition in their behalf.

Immigration and business attorney Indu Liladhar-Hathi has an office in San Jose. (408) 294-7999.

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