Are you an immigrant without status, who has faced domestic violence from a U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child or a Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent? If so, you might be eligible to self-petition for a Green Card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Why an immigration lawyer for VAWA Application?
- Detailed declaration of the Applicant telling their story and how they meet the legal VAWA requirements;
- Submission of complete packet with supporting affidavits and documents, evidence of abuse faced and basis of claim, and completed forms.
- Strategic advice from beginning to end on how to meet the requirements and attorney provides assistance and oversees every single piece of evidence.
VAWA Self Petition Requirements
To self-petition for a Green Card under VAWA, you must be the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of your U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident family member; establish the family relationship; have resided with the abusive family member; and be a person of good moral character. When the abusive family member is a spouse, you must also establish that you entered into the marriage in good faith and not for any immigration benefits.
You must clearly demonstrate that you suffered “battery or extreme cruelty” in your declaration and supporting evidence. You must not have any bars to adjustment of status that could prevent you from having your application approved.
Benefits of a VAWA Petition
- Ability to self petition and find safety in the United States without the abusive family member’s knowledge;
- Can include child dependents in the application;
- You will be safe from detention or deportation on the basis of your immigration status;
- You can get a work permit and travel permit while your Green Card petition is pending; and
- You can get a Green Card, and if you qualified for VAWA through marriage to an abusive U.S. Citizen or as the child of an abusive U.S. Citizen parent, you can apply for citizenship after three years of having the Green Card.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can use your current address to apply, even if it is not where you intend to permanently reside. You can provide a safe address so that the abusive family member you live with will not know that you filed the application. Your attorney will also receive a copy of all the USCIS correspondence.
Once you have submitted the completed forms and supporting documents, you will hear back from USCIS about whether your application has been approved, denied, or if USCIS needs anything else from you. Be sure to let your immigration attorney know when this happens.
Yes, they do. You will need to provide evidence of emotional and/or verbal abuse you faced in your declaration, supporting affidavits, and any other documented evidence that could help demonstrate your claim.
Yes, you can apply for both a work permit and a travel permit if you have an approved VAWA petition. Your children, who are dependents, can also apply for work authorization.
Yes, a VAWA petition will lead to a Green Card and therefore, permanent residence in the U.S.! Generally, you will need to have the VAWA petition approved first and then apply to adjust your status to get the Green Card. However, if a visa is currently available or the priority date is current, you can file both the VAWA petition and the Green Card application concurrently.
Yes – in spite of the name, VAWA protections extend to any non-U.S. citizen, including men, who meet the criteria.
As long as you are applying for VAWA within two years of getting divorced, you are still eligible for VAWA. You are also still eligible to apply for VAWA even if you are still married.