Protection For Battered Immigrants
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If you are a battered child, spouse or parent, it is possible to file for an immigrant visa under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The law allows certain children, spouses and parents of U.S. citizens; certain children and spouses of lawful permanent residents; or those who hold green cards to file a petition on their own behalf, without their abuser’s knowledge. The purpose is to provide victims, both men and women, safety, independence and protection from those who abuse them.
To qualify for an immigrant visa under VAWA, you must be a:
- Spouse – You are, or you have been, abused by your spouse who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). You can also file as an abused spouse if your child was abused by your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. The law also allows you to include any minor unmarried children on the petition if they have not filed their own.
- Parent – You are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused by that child who is a U.S. citizen.
- Child – You can file your own petition if you are a child who has been abused and you are under age 21, unmarried, and you have been abused by your citizen or LPR parent. If you have children, they may also be included in the petition. You may also file for yourself as a child after age 21, but before age 25, if you can demonstrate the abuse was the primary reason why you delayed filing.
To be eligible as a spouse for purposes of petitioning under VAWA:
- You must be married to a U.S. citizen or LPR abuser.
- Your marriage to the abuser must have ended due to death or divorce because of the abuse.
- Your spouse must have lost or given up their citizenship or permanent resident status within the two years before you filed the petition because of a domestic violence incident.
- You believed you were legally married to your abuser who is a citizen or LPR, but the marriage was not legitimate only because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
You or your child suffered cruelty or battery by your abuser who is a citizen or LPR; and you in good faith married the abuser rather than for the immigration benefits, you lived with your abuser, and you are a person of good character.
To be eligible as a child for purposes of petitioning under VAWA:
- You must be a child of an abuser who is a U.S. citizen or LPR.
- Your parent who abused you must be a citizen or LPR who lost their citizenship or permanent resident status because of a domestic violence incident.
You have suffered cruelty or battery by your citizen or LPR parent; and you lived with your abusive parent, and you are a person of good character. If you are less than 14 years old, it is presumed that you are a person of good character.
To be eligible as a parent for purposes of petitioning under VAWA:
- Your U.S. citizen child must be at least 21 years old when you file your petition.
- Your citizen child must have lost or given up their citizenship status due to a domestic violence incident.
- Your citizen child must have been at least 21 years old and died within two years before you filed your petition.
You have suffered cruelty or battery by your child who is a citizen; and you lived with your abusive child and you have good character.
If you are a child, spouse or parent who meets all of these qualifications, you may be able to file your immigrant visa petition under VAWA. To do so, you must complete all of the appropriate forms and submit applicable documentation.
Do You Need More Information About VAWA? Turn To Us.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an abusive child, spouse or parent and is in need of one or more of our immigration law services, contact one of our Central Pennsylvania immigration attorneys online or call 717-971-1974. We offer free and confidential consultation because we want you to receive the information you need.