The Violence against women act, “VAWA” was passed by Congress in order to assist victims of domestic abuse who wish to stay in the country and adjust status to Lawful Permanent Resident “Green Card Holder”. The abuser of the petitioner must have been a U.S. citizen or green card holding (LPR) spouse or parent of the person filing the petition.
The law allows applicants, through an attorney, to petition using Form I-360 for immigrant benefits even if the marriage ended in divorce. However, the VAWA petitioner must show a connection between the relationship and the domestic violence and must also file the petition within two years of the termination of the marriage.
Abused spouses and children can still qualify under VAWA even if the abuser is no longer a U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder. The VAWA petitioner must also prove that he or she has good moral character. Of course, it must be proven that the U.S. citizen or LPR either physically or mentally abused the spouse during the marriage or the child during the time the child lived with the parent (See 8CFR §204.2(c)(1)(i)(E), (F), (e)(1)(E),(F)).
In order to prove “abuse” under VAWA law, the petitioner must provide U.S.C.I.S. with detailed and credible information pertaining to the domestic abuse. The VAWA petition must be filed with the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If VSC approves the petition, the petitioner will qualify for adjustment of status to LPR by filing Form I-485 according to 9FAM 42.42 PN4.
If you have been abused by your spouse or parent and would like to file a VAWA self-petition, call now to speak with a New Jersey Immigration attorney familiar with the process.