What are the Eligibility Requirements for a VAWA Application?
The Violence Against Women’s Act was passed by Congress in 1994. It allows certain battered non-citizens to self-petition for immigration relief. The applicants must be the spouse, child, or parent of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). Divorced spouses may also apply if the divorce was related to the abuse and the application is filed within two years of the termination of the marriage. The purpose is to allow the abused spouse, child, or parent to self-petition, without the knowledge or consent of the abusive parent or spouse.
Eligibility for VAWA Self Petitions
You must provide evidence of the following when submitting your petition:
- Your birth certificate;
- Proof of Abuser’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status;
- Proof of the marriage (marriage certificate) and/or relationship (parent-child, for example);
- Residence with the family member;
- Proof of the abuse, in the form of a declaration, photos, criminal report, court records, or otherwise;
- The good moral character of the victim. This can be shown via a background check, lack of criminal record, and/or affidavits from employers and friends.
You must also show that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for purposes of acquiring legal status in the United States. Finally, the victim must show that the abuse occurred in the United States.
The VAWA petition is a powerful option for those who have been abused at the hands of their legally present spouse, parent, or child. If approved, you will be granted lawful permanent resident status allowing you to live and work in the United States legally. It is a complicated application that requires detailed evidence. An experienced attorney, like Jeremy Castro, at Castro Law Offices, can assess your eligibility and explain the procedure, timing, and fees.
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