Your Complete Guide to VAWA Immigration


If you need help navigating Vawa Iimigration laws, contact the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney. We can walk you through the laws. Book an appointment with us today.

VAWA: Violence Against Women Act

Are you married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident? You may know you can apply for lawful permanent residence through your spouse. This is often called a Green Card. But what if your lawful permanent resident spouse is abusive? That can cause some challenges during the immigration process.

Fortunately, you can get a green card without depending on your abusive spouse. This is possible through the VAWA immigration women act.

VAWA means Violence Against Women Act. This law helps victims of domestic abuse get permanent residency. It lets you file a self-petition for a green card without your spouse’s knowledge or consent. That means you can escape from your abuser and start a new life.

This guide will take you through everything you need about VAWA immigration. You’ll learn who applies for a VAWA green card and how abused spouses can register permanent residence. You’ll also learn some tips to help you with the process if you are considering filing a VAWA self-petition. That will help you understand your options and take the following steps toward a better future.

What Is VAWA Immigration?

VAWA immigration is a special type of immigration. It helps victims of domestic violence. It allows you to apply for a green card without relying on your abusive spouse.

Women married to a spouse with United States citizenship usually wait for them to file a petition to get a VAWA green card. This can take a long time. If you are the petitioner, it also gives them a lot of power over you.

The abusive spouse may do the following if you decide to leave the relationship:

  • Withdraw the petition

  • Report you to immigration authorities

  • Harm you or your children

But with VAWA immigration, you don’t have to worry about that. You can file a self-petition. If USCIS approves your VAWA self-petition, you can apply for a green card.


VAWA Self-Petitioner Benefits

VAWA offers several benefits. VAWA immigration can help you get out of an abusive situation. It also helps you secure your future in the U.S. It can also protect your children from harm and trauma.

You may get work authorization and access public benefits while you wait for your green card. That makes it an excellent option for survivors of domestic violence. It helps them live a safe and independent life.

How to Apply for VAWA Immigration

By self-petitioning, you don’t have to tell your abusive spouse or get their permission. To file a VAWA self-petition, you need to prove the following:

  • You are either married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, or you were married to one within the past two years. Additionally, if the marriage ended due to abuse, either through divorce or the death of your spouse, you may still qualify.
  • Your U.S. citizen or lawful spouse has abused you or your children. You may also prove that the spouse has abused your parents.
  • You have lived with your spouse in the U.S.
  • You have good moral character.
  • You entered the marriage in good faith. Prove that you did not marry for immigration status.

You may also include your abused children in your petition. However, you can only include unmarried children under the age of 21.

To apply for VAWA immigration, follow these steps:


Step 1: Fill Out Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant

This is the form for VAWA self-petitioners. You can find it on the USCIS website or a legal service provider. Make sure you answer all the questions honestly and completely.

Step 2: Gather Evidence to Support Your VAWA Self-Petition

You must prove that you meet all the eligibility requirements for VAWA immigration. Some of the evidence you can use for self-petitioning are:

  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • Birth certificates of your children
  • Police reports or court records of the abuse
  • Medical records or photos of your injuries
  • Letters from counselors, social workers, or therapists
  • Affidavits from individuals who witnessed the abuse
  • Proof of your spouse’s citizenship or green card status
  • Proof of your good moral character
  • Proof of your bona fide marriage

Proof of marriage can include joint bank accounts, leases, bills, or photos. Tax returns, employment records, or community service certificates can be submitted as proof of your character.


Step 3: Mail Your Form I-360 and Evidence to USCIS

You can find the address for your area on the instructions for Form I-360. Include a cover letter explaining why you are filing a VAWA self-petition. Detail the evidence you are submitting.


Step 4: Wait for USCIS to Process Your VAWA Self-Petition

That can take several months or even years. It often depends on the workload of USCIS and the complexity of your case. However, you can check the status of your case online.

USCIS may also send a notice. They might ask for more information or evidence. They might also invite you for an interview. Respond to these requests from USCIS as soon as possible.


Step 5: Apply for a Green Card if Your VAWA Self-Petition Is Approved

You can apply for your green card when the USCIS approves your VAWA self-petition for a lawful permanent resident status. You can do this by consular processing if you are outside the United States. Individuals inside the U.S. will file for an adjustment of status.

You must complete Form I-485 and submit it with the necessary documents and fees to USCIS.

You may also need to complete the following before you get your green card:

  • Medical exam
  • Background check
  • Interview

How Can an Immigration Lawyer Help You With VAWA Immigration?

There are several aspects of the process an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles can help you with. These include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Explain the VAWA immigration process and requirements to you

  • Evaluate your case and advise you on your best options

  • Prepare and file your VAWA self-petition and green card application for you

  • Gather and submit the evidence and documents you need

  • Communicate with USCIS on your behalf

  • Represent you in any interviews or hearings

  • Appeal or challenge any adverse decisions

  • Protect your confidentiality and privacy

  • Support you emotionally and professionally throughout the process

Are you an abused spouse in search of a Greed Card lawyer? Look no further. Contact us today at the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney for a complimentary consultation. Do you need a Russian immigration lawyer or even a Spanish-speaking? Our team of skilled immigration attorneys speaks English, Russian, and Spanish to ensure clear and comprehensive communication. Let us guide you step-by-step through the intricate process of becoming a lawful permanent resident.

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