VAWA | Immigration Lawyer

Green card for victims of violence

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is law designed to protect non-citizen victims of battery or extreme cruelty committed by a U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse, U.S. citizen parent, U.S. citizen son or daughter. It also applies to a lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse, or LPR parent.

This type of petition allows victims to self-petition without the abuser’s knowledge or consent.  If a VAWA self-petition is approved, the applicant can apply for a Green Card.

VAWA Eligibility

You may be eligible for VAWA green card if you suffered some form of abuse.  The abuser must be your spouse, child or parent who is either a U.S. citizen or green card holder.  If you suffered abuse by a spouse, you could still submit a VAWA self-petition within two years of your divorce and there is a connection between the abuse and the divorce.   Children of abusive U.S. citizens or LPRs can submit a WAVA to USCIS until the age of 25.

In some circumstances, you can submit a VAWA to USCIS even if you overstayed your visa after you entered the United States or committed other violations of immigration law.  If you are considered inadmissible, you can also apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.  Read about this option here.

VAWA Requirements

A successful VAWA case requires strong proof of the legal requirements.  For starters, a successful VAWA case has proof of the abuse.  The proof can be in the form of your affidavit, police reports, affidavit of witnesses, photos, hospital records, etc.  In addition, you must prove that there was a good faith marriage if the abuser is your spouse or stepparent.

A successful VAWA case must also prove your relationship to the abuser and the immigration status of the abuser.  You must also prove your good moral character and that you lived with the abuser.

Our VAWA lawyers create individualized VAWA self-petitions that highlights all the strengths of your case.  We make strong legal arguments on your behalf so that you have a great chance of getting approved.

Can my children be included in my VAWA petition?

Yes. You can include in your VAWA self-petition your unmarried children under the age of 21.

Can I work while my petition is pending?

Some VAWA self-petitioners can apply for a VAWA with adjustment of status or green card application.  This will also include an application for employment authorization.  You can work once the application for employment authorization is approved.

Can I travel outside of the U.S. while my petition is pending?

Generally, if you leave the United States with a pending application for adjustment of status, your application is deemed abandoned.  However, you may be able to travel by first applying for advanced parole.  Advanced parole allows you to appear at a U.S. port-of-entry and seek entry into the country after travel abroad with a pending adjustment of status application. However, your entry to U.S. is under the discretion of the port of entry officers. This means, there is no assurance that you will be allowed back in the U.S.

The VAWA Self-Petition Process

You can submit a VAWA self-petition to USCIS by filing a Form I-360.  The petition must have all the supporting evidence and meet the legal requirements.  Once the Form I-360 is approved, you can apply for Adjustment of Status (green card) or go through consular process.

Some VAWA petitions to USCIS may also include an Adjustment of Status application with to the Form I-360.  This is called concurrent filing.  Concurrent filing lets the petitioner get a green card at the time the VAWA is approved.  This is the fastest and most effective way to obtain your green card.

Can I apply for VAWA if I am in Removal Proceedings?

Yes.  This is called VAWA cancelation of removal.  This is designed to keep victims of abuse from being deported.  Noncitizen victims of abuse can ask an immigration court for VAWA cancellation of removal.  If successful, the victim will receive a green card.

To qualify, the victim must have been subject to abuse, been present in the United States for at least 3 years, have good moral character, show that the removal would cause extreme hardship, and that he or she is not inadmissible OR eligible for an inadmissibility waiver.

Our office recommends that you seek the help of our experienced and knowledgeable VAWA lawyers. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.

How Terra Immigration Can Help.

Our VAWA lawyers understand the unique nature of VAWA cases.  We work closely with all our clients to create a strong VAWA self-petition.  Our VAWA lawyers use all our resources to help you get a green card through the VAWA self-petition process.

Let’s talk about your immigration case. Contact us to talk to an immigration attorney.

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