The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that allows abused and battered women to petition for legal status in the United States without relying on their abusive spouse or another U.S. citizen to sponsor their green card. In other words, a woman can pursue a lawful permanent residency (LPR) in the United States independently and without the help of their abuser, which is a requirement under normal circumstances.
VAWA cases can take anywhere from 16 to 21 months to resolve. The role of our attorneys is to ensure the court has enough evidence to approve your petition.
Am I Eligible for a VAWA Self-Petition?
If you are a spouse or former spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen or LPR, we must be able to help you prove that you are a victim of extreme cruelty or domestic assault and battery to proceed with a VAWA self-petition. Your eligibility depends on some of the following criteria:
- Proof that you married your spouse in good faith
- Proof that you are married to a U.S. citizen or LPR and they are abusive toward you
- Proof that your spouse lost legal status due to a domestic violence incident
- Proof that your marriage was legally terminated by death
- Proof that your spouse abused your children or family members
- Proof that you are a person of good moral character
We will discuss other requirements with you as part of our consultation.
What Should Be Included in a VAWA?
A VAWA petition is a personal account of your experience with an abusive spouse, as the court will demand supporting evidence before making a decision. Our attorney ensures intimate details are included regarding you and your spouse—from how you met to how your relationship developed to why you got married. We will also have the types of abuse you and your children or family members experienced and when the abuse occurred.
The second part of a self-petition is filling out Form I-360, a petition specifically for individuals pursuing a green card based on marriage without a spouse’s help.
Can an Immigration Attorney Help My Chances?
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must have written evidence and proof of abuse before granting a woman consideration for LPR. Abused women seeking a green card without the help of an abusive spouse must also be eligible first.
As most cases take months to resolve, we can improve your chances of success by gathering the necessary information and details to appease the court. Anytime a VAWA petition is rejected because of a lack of evidence, such as medical or police records or other documentation proving assault and battery.
We will ensure you can back up your claims and prove abuse. Contact our firm to get started: 408-402-4967.