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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Helping you receive immigration benefits is our top priority.

VAWA Immigration Attorney in Chicago

Are You Eligible for a Green Card or Visa under VAWA?

Violence against women is a major public health issue and a violation of women’s human rights. The World Health Organization estimates about 1 in 30 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, which can lead to serious injuries, homicide, or suicide. Luckily, there is hope.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally enacted in 1994 in response to concerns about violent crime, particularly against women, and addresses domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, among others. VAWA intends to prevent violent crime, respond to victims’ needs, learn more about crime, and change public attitudes.

How does this apply to immigration?

VAWA contains provisions that allow eligible non-citizens to file immigrant visa petitions and petition for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status without their abuser knowing. As such, if you are a victim of battery who is seeking a home in the United States, speak to our Chicago VAWA lawyer to learn how we can help make that possible. You can reach us at (312) 698-9066!

Eligibility for Immigrant Visa Under VAWA

Battered spouses, children, or parents may file an immigrant visa petition without their abusers’ knowledge. However, they must meet the following eligibility requirements.

Spouse

  • You are married to a U.S. citizen or LPR abuser; or
  • your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within 2 years prior to filing your petition; or
  • your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or LPR status within 2 years prior to filing your petition due domestic violence; or
  • you believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, but the marriage was not legitimate because of your abusive spouse’s bigamy.
  • You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your 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.

Child

  • You are the child of a U.S. citizen or LPR abuser OR a U.S. citizen or LPR abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to domestic violence.
  • You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your parent.
  • You have resided with your abusive parent.
  • You are a person of good moral character (a child younger than 14 is presumed to be a person of good moral character).

Parent

  • 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
    • a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status related to domestic violence; or
    • a U.S. citizen son or daughter who was at least 21 years old and died within 2 years prior to filing the self-petition.
  • You have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your son or daughter.
  • You have resided with the abusive son or daughter.
  • You are a person of good moral character.

Green Card Eligibility for VAWA Self-Petitioners

VAWA allows eligible victims of battery or extreme cruelty (see below) to self-petition for a Green Card if their abuser is one of the following:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse
  • A U.S. citizen parent
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter
  • An LPR spouse or former spouse
  • An LPR parent

VAWA self-petitioners must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements to obtain a Green Card:

  • You file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • You are physically present in the US at the time of filing Form I-485
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa
  • You have an immigrant visa immediately available at the time of filing Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on the application
  • None of the bars to adjustment of status apply to you
  • You are admissible to the US for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief
  • You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion

To obtain an immigrant visa, VAWA self-petitioners must have one of the following:

  • An approved VAWA self-petition
  • A previously filed VAWA self-petition that remains pending (if approved)
  • A VAWA self-petition (if ultimately approved) filed together with your Form I-485

Helping Victims Get Protection Under VAWA

Still unsure if you’re eligible for a Green Card or visa under VAWA? Allow us to provide the clarity you need to move forward with the filing process. After determining you are eligible, our Chicago VAWA attorney can walk you through each step and ensure you complete the forms and documents correctly. From start to finish, we can protect your rights and work towards the future you deserve.

For more information on how we can serve you, reach out to us online or at (312) 698-9066 to arrange a consultation!

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