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Long Island VAWA Immigration Attorney

Violence Against Women Act Overview

A person who has been abused by their U.S. Citizen (USC) or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) family member can self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Despite the name, men (and women) are eligible.   A VAWA petition allows an abused self-petitioner to petition independently without the involvement of his or her abuser who can be either a USC or LPR family member.  Children of self-petitioners are automatically included in the VAWA self-petition.  Successful VAWA petitioners are entitled to employment authorization cards (EAD).  A VAWA self-petitioner may file their I-360 concurrently with their application to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident if their abuser was a U.S. citizen.  A VAWA self-petitioner whose abuser is a LPR may file their I-360 and could be granted “deferred action” and once their priority date becomes current, may be eligible to adjust status and obtain a green card.  VAWA self-petitioners may consular process and can even self-petition if he or she is in removal (deportation) proceedings.

VAWA Requirements

A self-petitioning applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Qualifying relationship – the VAWA applicant may satisfy this requirement by showing that he or she is married to an LPR or USC spouse, was an inadvertent victim of bigamy, or was married to a LPR or USC but that the marriage ended in divorce.
    • The marriage must have been in “good faith.”
  • Abuser’s LPR or USC status – the VAWA self-petitioning applicant should gather as much as evidence as possible concerning his or her abuser’s LPR or USC status including the abuser’s A number if applicable, birth certificate, naturalization records or any other document that evidences the abuser’s USC or LPR status.  If the self-petitioning applicant cannot identify any evidence, then a formal request to USCIS to verify the abuser’s status should be made.
  • Joint Residence with Abuser – the VAWA applicant should gather evidence to establish that he or she resided with the abuser.
  • Qualifying Abuse – the self-petitioner must show that he or she was subjected to to physical battery or to extreme cruelty.
  • Good Moral Character – the self-petition must establish that he or she has good moral character which is generally evinced by criminal back ground checks.

Summary

VAWA applications are highly document sensitive that undergo careful analysis based on the self-petitioning nature of the application in which there is no USC or LPR involvement.  If you believe that you are eligible to self-petition under VAWA, contact the Law Firm of Kyce Siddiqi immediately for a in-depth consultation.