One of the best laws Congress passed to protects victims of domestic violence if the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The act allows battered and abused spouses of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent residence. The VAWA self-petition is confidential, and the abuser will not be informed of the initiation or decision. Moreover, United States and Citizenship Services has a special victims unit at the Vermont Service Center that handles these petitions. In this post I will discuss the VAWA self-petition process.
As mentioned above, the Violence Against Women Act is an act that protects victims of domestic violence. The immigration provisions include the self-petition process. It also includes a special rule for Cancellation of Removal in removal proceedings. The law also established several waivers, which are exclusive to victims of domestic violence victims, including a waiver of an admission to qualify for lawful permanent residence. In other words, even if someone enters the United States without admission, which bars others from adjusting, a VAWA self-petitioner still qualifies for adjustment of status. The law also allows a conditional permanent resident to remove the conditions unilaterally if they, or their dependents, were abused.
The following individuals may apply for self-petitions:
There are several requirements of which potential self-petitioners should be aware. These requirements include:
Applicants under the Violence Against Women Act are eligible for adjustment of status once the I-360 petition is approved. The application process is the same as in other adjustment categories. The petitioners and their derivatives may apply for adjustment concurrently with the I-360 or may wait until after the I-360 petition is approved.
VAWA self-petitioner are eligible for naturalization under the 2 years rule, even though they were divorced from their spouse at the time of the application.
If you have any questions, please call me at (888) 963-7326 to schedule a strategy session to discuss your options.
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