Immigration Has No Borders
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a path to lawful permanent residency for victims of abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family member, without the need to rely on the abusive family member to petition on their behalf. It’s important to note that despite its name, VAWA applies to both male and female victims of abuse. Here are the primary qualifications for VAWA self-petitioning in different scenarios:
Self-Petition as a Spouse: You may be eligible if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR and you or your child have been abused. Required evidence includes proof of the marriage’s validity, cohabitation, abuse, and the petitioner’s good moral character.
Self-Petition as a Child: Unmarried individuals under 21 who have been abused by a U.S. citizen or LPR parent can file a petition. Evidence required includes proof of the relationship, cohabitation, abuse, and the petitioner’s good moral character.
Self-Petition as a Parent: If you are the parent of an abusive U.S. citizen child over 21, you can self-petition. Required evidence includes proof of the relationship, cohabitation, abuse, and the petitioner’s good moral character.
Obtaining a Green Card (Lawful Permanent Residency): Upon approval of the self-petition, the applicant can usually adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The timing of this step can vary based on the petitioner’s relationship to the abuser and the abuser’s status (U.S. citizen or LPR).
For individuals who have suffered abuse and are contemplating a VAWA self-petition, it’s crucial to seek guidance from a legal expert with experience in such cases to ensure that all requirements are met and the process is handled sensitively and correctly. If you are in this situation, you may reach out to The Ahluwalia Firm or similar legal representatives to determine your eligibility and to get help with the petition process.