If you are a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). As a Miami immigration attorney, I have helped several clients seek relief under VAWA.

The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization.

Am I eligible to file?

  • Spouse: You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also file as an abused spouse if your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.  You may also include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves.
  • Parent: You may file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
  • Child: You may file for yourself if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. Your children may also be included on your petition. You may also file for yourself as a child after age 21 but before age 25 if you can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.

If you have any further questions as to your eligibility, you should contact a Miami immigration lawyer.

What are the eligibility requirements for a spouse?

  • Qualifying spousal relationship:
    • You are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser or
    • your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing your petition, or
    • your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing your petition due to an incident of domestic violence, or
    • you believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
  • You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse:
    • You have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or
    • your child has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. or permanent resident spouse.
  • You entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.
  • You have resided with your spouse.
  • You are a person of good moral character.

If you have any questions as to eligibility requirements for a spouse, you should absolutely speak with a Miami immigration attorney in regard to same.

What are the eligibility requirements for a child?

  • Qualifying parent/child relationship:
    • You are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser, or
    • you are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to an incident of domestic violence.
  • You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent.
  • You have resided with your abusive parent.
  • You are a person of good moral character; a child less than 14 years of age is presumed to be a person of good moral character.

What are the eligibility requirements for a parent?

  • Qualifying parent/son or daughter relationship:
    • You are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years of age when the self-petition is filed, or
    • you are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status related to an incident of domestic violence, or
    • you are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who was at least 21 years of age and who died within 2 years prior to filing the self-petition.
  • You have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
  • You have resided with the abusive son or daughter.
  • You are a person of good moral character.

If you have any questions in regard to the above, do not guess – speak with a Miami immigration lawyer today.

Can I work in the United States?

That depends. If you have an approved Form I-360, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States.  In addition, if you have an approved Form I-360 and have been placed in deferred action, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States. However, you should certainly  speak with a Miami immigration lawyer  if you have any questions as to your eligibility to work in the United States.

Can I file for Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card)?

If you have an approved Form I-360, you may be eligible to file for a green card. If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child, your children listed on your approved Form I-360 may also be eligible to apply for a green card.

If you would like more information on the Abused Spouse Petition (Form I-360), please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com.

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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