Battered Noncitizen Q & As


Battered noncitizens have additional rights under federal law.  Persons who may ordinarily be ineligible for benefits might be eligible because of their domestic violence history.

The following questions must be answered to determine whether the applicant is eligible for TAFDC under battered noncitizen regulations:


If the answer to any of the questions under #1 is No, the noncitizen does not qualify as a battered noncitizen under federal law.  If all the answers to the above questions are “Yes,” then go to question #2.


To be eligible for TAFDC, as a battered noncitizen, the applicant must have one of the following:


See coding on Permanent Resident Card section later in this memo for instructions on determining if the noncitizen has a pending or approved I-130 petition.

In many situations, the applicant will not possess the documents specified above, but will have others that provide the necessary proof (e.g., there are other documents that demonstrate that the applicant received his or her status through an I-130 petition).  Therefore, you should request any other documentation the applicant has pertaining to his or her noncitizen status, such as permanent resident card, employment authorization card, notices of approved petitions, etc., to help determine eligibility.



Asylees, Cuban/Haitians, Amerasians, Refugees and Deportation Withheld noncitizens are automatically eligible for TAFDC and do not need to pursue a battered noncitizen status.  However, these noncitizens, if battered, should also be referred to the Domestic Violence Specialist for other services.


If the battered noncitizen presents a Permanent Resident Card (I-551), be sure to check the code on the card.  The code can be found under the heading Category between the headings Birthdate and Sex.  The code is useful in determining whether the noncitizen immigrated through a family member (thus meeting the I-130 requirement above) or by some other means.  Some common codes on Permanent Resident Cards which show that the noncitizen obtained LPR status through a petition by a U.S. citizen spouse or parent or an LPR spouse or parent include, but are not limited to:

Please note that these codes mean the same thing even if they contain a dash (e.g., IR-1, F2-1).  Contact the Noncitizen Liaison for the TAO for assistance in determining whether the applicant meets the regulatory requirements if:

The Noncitizen Liaison should refer unresolved issues to the Policy Hotline for clarification.


The following pages list questions and answers to help you determine whether a noncitizen is an eligible battered noncitizen.





A noncitizen TAFDC applicant states that she has been abused by her husband, a U.S. citizen.  She has verified abuse by her husband in the U.S., and she and her two minor children no longer live with him.  She and her children present Permanent Resident Cards showing that they have been LPRs since October 1, 2003.  The applicant’s I-551 card has the code IR1 on it and her children’s cards have the code IR2.  The applicant has not filed a petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Is the applicant eligible for either TAFDC?


A TAFDC applicant does not have to self-petition under VAWA to qualify for TAFDC.  In this case, she and her children qualify under the battered noncitizen regulations.  The code IR1 shows that the applicant obtained her LPR status through an I-130 petition by a U.S. citizen spouse, and the code IR2 verifies that the children were petitioned for by a U.S. citizen parent.  Therefore they meet the requirements:

  • the applicant has been battered by his or her spouse

  • she no longer resides with him and

  • she has status as a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen pursuant to clause (i) of section 204(a)(1)(A) of the INA.




In the same case, what if the husband was an LPR instead of a U.S. citizen?  The codes on the I-551 cards are F26 and F27.  Is the family eligible?


Yes.  They meet the requirements.  The code F26 verifies that the wife was petitioned for by an LPR spouse and F27 verifies that the child was petitioned for by an LPR parent.  Please note that these are not the only codes that will show eligibility.  See Question 5.





What if the husband’s father, who lived with the family, was the abuser, and not the husband himself?  Is the family eligible?


The applicant is eligible if she tells the worker that her spouse consented or did not intervene to stop the battery and the applicant no longer lives with her father-in-law.  Such abuse could be verified by police reports, witness statements, affidavits, etc.





A TAFDC applicant is an unmarried LPR who was petitioned for by her mother who is also an LPR.  The applicant presents an I-551 showing that she obtained LPR status on February 28, 2003, with the code F24.  She lived with her mother until she gave birth to her U.S. citizen daughter, after which her mother became abusive.  Is the applicant eligible for TAFDC a battered noncitizen?


She meets the requirements of 106 CMR 203.675(A)(8)(a), (b), and (c)(4).  The F24 code verified that she was petitioned for by her LPR parent.  Her daughter is eligible because she is a citizen.





How do I figure out the codes on the Permanent Resident Card (I-551)?  What codes confirm eligibility for TAFDC under the Battered Noncitizen provisions?


The Permanent Resident Card (I-551) shows LPR status.  The code on the card indicates how the person obtained LPR status.  The code can be found under the heading Category – between the headings Birthdate and Sex.  IR1, IR2, IR6, IR7, F21, F22, F24, F26, F27, F29 are common codes which show that the immigrant obtained LPR status through a petition by a U.S. citizen spouse or parent or an LPR spouse or parent.  However, there is a longer list of codes which may indicate that an immigrant meets the criteria to receive TAFDC as a battered noncitizen.  In addition, a noncitizen may have other immigration documents besides a Permanent Resident Card (I-551) which have important information regarding status.  If a battered noncitizen presents any documentation regarding his or her status and you are unsure as to their meaning, please contact your TAO’s Noncitizen Liaison.





What if the abusive husband of the applicant in question #1 has filed petitions for her and the children, but the Permanent Resident card (I-551) has not been issued yet.  She is no longer with him.  Are she and her children eligible for TAFDC?


She and her children meet the requirements of 106 CMR 203.675(A)(8).  There only has to be a pending petition for LPR status; it does not matter if the applicant has already left her husband prior to her receiving her status.





An unmarried TAFDC applicant has a son who is a U.S. citizen.  She has verified abuse by her son’s father, also a U.S. citizen.  She obtained her I-551 card on May 1, 2002 and was petitioned for status by her brother.  Is she eligible for TAFDC?


No, she is not eligible for TAFDC because she did not receive her LPR status as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or LPR.  She is subject to the five-year wait and not eligible for TAFDC until May 1, 2007.  However, she can receive TAFDC for her U.S. citizen son.





A TAFDC applicant and her son lawfully entered the U.S. after she married a U.S. citizen.  Her husband promised to file a petition for them to become LPRs but he never did.  After her husband became abusive toward her son, the applicant and her son fled the home.  Are they eligible for TAFDC as battered noncitizens?


No.  The applicant and her son are not eligible because there is no petition pending on their behalf.  However, if she files a petition (form I-360) for LPR status under VAWA, and receives a prima facie determination of approval (form I-797), they will be eligible.  Under VAWA, certain battered spouses and children of U.S. citizens or LPRs may self-petition to obtain LPR status, without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge.  If an applicant without permanent status has suffered abuse and is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or LPR, refer her to Legal Services for information about filing this petition and to one of the agencies listed in the Noncitizen Resource Brochure (NCRB).





In the previous case, what if the applicant’s husband was an LPR?


The answer is the same, but if she receives a notice of prima facie determination (I-797 form), she will be eligible.





A battered noncitizen is applying for benefits.  She states that her husband filed a petition on her behalf but she does not have any documentation.  SAVE does not show her status and she does not have an alien registration number.  What should I do?


In this case, you must refer the applicant to the TAO’s Noncitizen Liaison.  Because of the nature of abusive relationships, battered noncitizens may not have copies of documents that have been filed by them or on their behalf.  The Department may be able to accept a self-declaration which states that the applicant’s husband filed a petition on her behalf pending receipt of the necessary verification.




TAFDC Noncitizen Policy and Procedures



  Last Update: February 16, 2012