Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a battered spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen or green card holder can apply for lawful permanent status without the abuser’s knowledge. Both male and females are eligible.
Generally, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident would petition for a green card for the spouse, child or parent and may even need to attend the interview with the beneficiary. In addition, if you become a legal permanent resident less than two years of your marriage, you normally would be granted a conditional green card. Consequently, your spouse would need to petition your adjustment to full permanent resident.
These are just a few ways in which an abuser can control, manipulate, intimidate, and isolate a spouse. For example, an abuser may threaten his or her spouse with deportation if the spouse does not comply with the abuser’s demands.
With the passing of VAWA, a person experiencing domestic violence can file an immigrant visa petition without the knowledge, involvement or assistance of the abuser.
There are three forms of protection under VAWA:
- VAWA self-petition
You can self-petition for a green card if you are abused by:
- Your spouse who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Your parent(s) or step-parent(s) who is/are a U.S citizen or green card holder
- Your son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen (not legal permanent resident)
- Or if your child is abused by your spouse
- Battered spouse or child waiver
If you obtained conditional permanent residence and are abused by your spouse who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, you can petition for a visa without your spouse. In some instances, a child can also petition without a mother or father.
- VAWA cancellation of removal
If you are in removal proceedings, also known as deportation proceedings, and are abused by your spouse who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder or have a child that is abused by that spouse, you may be eligible for this form of relief.
Although you may be eligible for one or more of these forms of relief under VAWA, it is highly recommended that you seek the consultation and assistance of an immigration attorney before petitioning for a type of immigration status. An attorney will determine eligibility and help you with the procedure. Gehi & Associates has been serving the community for almost 15 years and has experience in handling complex immigration cases. For more information on how we can assist you, please contact 718-263-5999 or [email protected] . We offer a free personal initial consultation.
Immigrant visa for battered spouse, children and parents
Are you a foreign citizen being abused by a US citizen or a permanent resident while living in the US? Do you need to get away from this abuser without their knowledge?
If you answered “Yes” to the above questions, then you might be eligible for the battered spouse, children or parents immigrant visa.
The Violence against Women Act (VAWA act) allows certain spouses, children and parents of US citizens and permanent residents to file a petition for an immigrant visa without the knowledge of the abuser. The main idea behind this immigrant visa is that the battered spouse, child or parents can seek independence and safety from the abuser without their knowledge. Even though it is the Violence against Women Act, it applies to both males and females equally.
What documents do I need to show to be eligible for immigrant visa?
Spouse visa – you may file for yourself, if you are married to a US citizen or permanent resident (green card) and he/she has abused you while living in the US. You entered the marriage with your spouse in good faith and not solely for immigration benefits. You must have lived with your spouse and you are a person of good moral character. You can use your marriage certificate, signed affidavits from friends or family members, or similar documents to prove all of these points to eligible immigration visa.
Child – you may file for yourself, if you are under the age of 21 and unmarried. Additionally, you may file, if you are the child of a US citizen or permanent resident and he/she has abused you while living in the US. You must document that you resided with the abusive parents and have evidence to prove your relationship with your parent. You must have document validating your good moral character, if you are over the age of 14, such as a signed affidavit from friends and family members.
Parent – you may file for yourself, if you are the parent of a child who has been abused. Additionally, you can include children who have not been abused. This immigrant visa also applies if you are the parent of a US citizen son or daughter and he/she has abused you. You must have documents showing you have resided with the abusive son or daughter and are a person of good moral character. You can use your marriage certificate, signed affidavits from friends or family members, or similar documents to prove all of these points.
How long can I stay in the US under the children, parents and battered spouse visa?
The battered spouse, children and parents visa is an immigrant visa. If you are approved, then you can apply a green card. The children who you listed on the petition may also be eligible to apply for a green card through VAWA, as well.
Can I work while I am in the US under the battered spouse, children and parents visa?
If your petition is approved, then you are eligible to apply to work in the US. You must file the Form I-765, which is an application for employment authorization.