What is VAWA?
VAWA stands for Victims Against Women Act, which is a statute that was put in place in 1994 for battered and abused spouses (and certain parents and children). VAWA allows victims to obtain a green card without the cooperation of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative, who is abusing them. Although, the name says “Women,” both men and women may self-petition.
What form do you need?
A petition is filed using the I-360 and must also include all supporting documentation; the I-360 form in itself is not be enough.
Are you qualified for a VAWA petition?
You may qualify if:
(1) your spouse is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR) and he/she battered or abused you or your child (under 21 yrs old);
(2) you parent or stepparent is a U.S. citizen or LPR and he/she battered or abused you (and you are unmarried under 21); OR
(3) your adult child (over 21 yrs old) is a U.S. citizen and he/she battered or abused you.
Also, if you are applying as a battered or abused spouse (or a spouse whose child was abused), you must:
(1) have been or be married to a U.S. citizen or LPR and have lived together at some point;
(2) if you divorced, you must be able to show a connection between the divorce and the abuse you suffered; AND
(3) your marriage must have been entered into in good faith. This means that if you are not married and are just living together or engaged, you will not be eligible for VAWA immigration relief.
The key to filing a successful VAWA is to provide sufficient documentary evidence with you I-360 to prove you meet all the requirements of the statute. This is a delicate process as ultimate it will be at the discretion of your immigration officer. For more information and requirements, you can contact us or visit the USCIS website.
VAWA was put in place to protect victims from being trapped in an abusive relationship because of the threat of deportation. It is a way to obtain status without relying on someone that is threatening and abusing you; VAWA can be the life rope that you were searching for. Please contact us if you or someone you know is in need of help and may benefit under the VAWA petition program.