As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.
The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization.
Those Eligible to File:
- Spouse: You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves.
- Parent: You may file for yourself if you are the parent of a child who has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. You may include on your petition your children, including those who have not been abused, if they have not filed for themselves. You may also file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
- Child: You may file for yourself if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. Your children may also be included on your petition. You may file for yourself as a child after age 21 but before age 25 if you can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.
Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse
- Married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser, or
- Your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing, or
- Your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing due to an incident of domestic violence, or
- You believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
- Have been abused in the United States by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or
- Have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse abroad while your spouse was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services, or
- Are the parent of a child who has been subjected to abuse by your U.S. citizen or permanent spouse.
- You entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.
- You have resided with your spouse.
- You are a person of good moral character.
Eligibility Requirements for a Child:
- Are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser
- Were the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to an incident of domestic violence
- Have been abused in the United States by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent
- Have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent abroad while your parent was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services
- Have resided with the abusive parent
- Have evidence to prove your relationship to your parent
- Must provide evidence of good moral character if you are over the age of 14
Eligibility Requirements for a Parent:
- You are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter or were the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status related to an incident of domestic violence or died within 2 years prior to filing
- You have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter
- You have resided with the abusive son or daughter
- You are a person of good moral character
- You must complete the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, including all supporting documentation
- You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC)
- If you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice (Prima Facie Determination Notice) valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to certain victims of domestic violence
- If your Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant is approved and you do not have legal immigration status in the United States, we may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States
How we can help you:
At the Law Office of Moona Shakil, an experienced senior attorney would help preparing your Violence Against Woman’s Act (VAWA) Application. Our immigration attorney would consult with you to discuss your options. Our mission is to provide prompt, high quality legal services to benefit the lives of our clients. We handle almost all types of immigration visas, and our attorneys understand that communication is a key to success. You need confidence that your lawyer understands your problem and is working with you to achieve results. Call us to find out how we provide superior service to our clients.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The use of the information on this website creates no attorney client relationship between the user and the Law Office of Moona Shakil, PLLC or its attorneys. There is no substitute for a face to face consultation with a lawyer. If you have legal questions, you must contact an experienced attorney immediately.