Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition

The immigration-related provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) were created to address the issue of immigrant spouses in abusive relationships who remain in such relationships due to fear relating to their immigration status. VAWA allows battered and abused spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to self-petition as a means of helping them to escape the abuse without fear of their immigration status being used against them. Despite its name, VAWA relief is available equally to both women and men.

The general requirements for a VAWA Self-Petition are:

  • Valid, bonafide marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Residence with the abuser
  • Abuse or extreme cruelty
  • Good moral character

If a VAWA Self-Petition is approved, the applicant is eligible for employment authorization. If the abusive spouse is a U.S. citizen, the approved VAWA self-petitioner is eligible to immediately apply for a green card. if the abusive spouse is a permanent resident, the VAWA self-petitioner must "wait in line" for a visa to become available before applying for a green card.

How We Can Help

  • If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, we will refer you to any necessary support services, such as domestic violence service providers and counseling.
  • We assist you with completing the application, assembling evidence, and drafting a legal brief detailing your eligibility for VAWA relief.
  • If your case is eligible for a concurrent green card application, we complete the application for you and represent you at your adjustment interview.

We welcome you to contact the Brian M. Wang | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP to schedule a consultation about how we may be of service in your immigration matter. Based in the Albany, NY Capital District area, we assist clients throughout New York, in all 50 states, and worldwide with United States immigration law.

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