VAWA – Violence Against Women’s Act

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If you’ve been physically or emotionally abused by your US spouse, please seek appropriate help, which include calling 911 to ask for police protection. Your health and safety override any immigration issues you may have.

We have extensive experience in counseling on immigration issues associated with a sudden separation from your US spouse. We understand the immense emotional trauma involved with domestic violence. Feeling guilty, hopeless, and alone are part and parcel of the abuse.

Under Violence Against Women Act – VAWA – US law offers immigration relief for victims of domestic violence. Men, women, and gender nonconforming victims may benefit in the form of a green card under this category.

Green Card for VAWA Self-Petitioner

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
  • A U.S. citizen parent;
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter;
  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
  • An LPR parent.

You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

In order to be eligible for a Green Card as a VAWA self-petitioner, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application;
  • None of the bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion.

You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa based on:

  • An approved VAWA self-petition (Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant);
  • A previously filed VAWA self-petition that remains pending (if ultimately approved); or
  • A VAWA self-petition (if ultimately approved) filed together with your Form I-485.

Asking for help is the first and often the most difficult step in ending an abusive relationship. You are not alone. We are here to listen to you, and offer counsel and guidance.

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