Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Immigration Lawyers

Helping Victims of Abuse Petition for a Green Card

Often, alien spouses or children that are being abused stay with the abuser due to their immigration status. They may fear losing their opportunity at a green card, deportation, or other threats made by the abusive spouse or parent. To address this issue, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. Under VAWA, spouses and children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may petition on their own behalf if they have been victimized through battering and/or extreme cruelty by the U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.

In order to qualify for self-petitioning under VAWA, the following requirements must be met:

Spouse

  • Must be legally married to U.S. citizens or permanent resident; or divorced within two years prior to filing due to abuse;
  • Battering or extreme cruelty must have occurred in the United States (unless the abusive spouse is an employee of the United States government or a member of the uniformed services of the United States);
  • Either you or your child must have been subject to extreme cruelty or battering at the hands of your U.S. Citizen or permanent resident spouse
  • Must have resided with abusive spouse in U.S. (unless the abusive spouse is an employee of the United States government or a member of the uniformed services of the United States.

Child

  • Must have been subject to extreme cruelty or battering at the hands of your U.S. Citizen or permanent resident parent
  • Battering or extreme cruelty must have occurred in the United States (unless the abusive spouse is an employee of the United States government or a member of the uniformed services of the United States);
  • Must have resided with abusive parent in U.S. (unless the abusive spouse is an employee of the United States government or a member of the uniformed services of the United States)

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

If you have been a victim of abuse by a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, you may qualify to self-petition for a green card. Contact our office to determine if you may qualify under VAWA.