If you have a visa through your spouse, your legal status in the United States depends on your marriage. If you married a permanent resident or citizen, they may have gotten you a visa. You may also have entered the country with them when they came here for work.

In either case, if you divorce or separate, your right to stay in the country could end. Needing to stay in a marriage for immigration purposes can put you at risk. If your spouse becomes abusive toward you or victimizes you, you may feel like you have no rights and no help.

Thankfully, there are laws that protect immigrant victims of domestic violence and other intimate crimes. You can get out of an abusive marriage without losing your right to stay in the country.

There is a special visa for immigrants who are victims of crime

Abusive and manipulative people might use their spouse’s immigration status as a means of control. Your spouse might think that they can say or do whatever they want because you have to stay with them. Thankfully, immigration law in the U.S. helps protect people against this kind of manipulation.

Specific visas exist for those who are the victims of criminal activity. There are also laws protecting dependent spouses and children from abusive parents and partners. You might qualify for a U visa or other immigration protections as a victim of abuse. Getting support while leaving your spouse and taking steps to legally protect yourself can help you get to a safe place without needing to leave the country.