VAWA stands for the 'Violence Against Women Act' and one element of this law applies specifically to immigrants (male or female) who are victims of domestic violence. It allows immigrant victims of abuse to discreetly apply for a green card without having to rely on their abuser to petition for them.
Below is a step-by-step overview of how to get your VAWA Green Card Petition started.
Step One: VAWA Green Card Petition For a self-petitioner applying for a VAWA green card, you will file on your own behalf using Form I-360. The application must include evidence that shows proof of marriage, birth certificates, and citizenship status, as well as proof of abuse and legitimacy of their marriage.
Step Two: Submitting the Petition
Once the USCIS reviews and approves your petition, they will issue you an approval notice. This case type can take a long time so it may be 1-2 years, or more or less (every case differs!). This notice does not give you legal status in the US yet, however, the US government is sympathetic to VAWA applicant’s situations and will allow you to remain in the country and apply for a work permit while you wait for your green card if you are eligible to apply for the green card too.
Step Three: Priority Date
While typically you would need to wait for your priority date to become current to apply for adjustment of status and proceed on to the final step, if your case is based on your relationship with your US Citizen Spouse or USC parent or child, then you may file your application for adjustment of status with your I-360 VAWA Petition, at the same time!
Step Four: Adjustment of Status
To file for adjustment of status and complete your visa application, if you were not eligible to file it with the I-360 Petition and have not yet done so, you’ll have to file Form I-485 with the USCIS. Appropriate supporting documentation is required as well. Once you submit this application, you are now authorized to remain and stay in the US to wait until a decision has been made, and you can apply to receive a work permit even while waiting for your green card.
You should anticipate having to appear for an interview at the local USCIS office and hopefully become approved for lawful resident status. Unlike in other family immigration cases, the abusive person is not required to be present at the interview.
To learn more about VAWA, click here.
We are here to support you throughout the whole process. Get in touch with the experienced immigration attorneys at JLB Law Group today!
Phone: 312 -972-7969