The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted in 1994, has become an important tool for protecting immigrants from violence in the United States. One of the key aspects of this law is the ability for victims of domestic violence to obtain a Green Card without the need for a sponsor.
Who can apply under the VAWA program:
- Spouses, children and parents of US citizens or permanent residents who have suffered abuse.
- Former spouses of US citizens/permanent residents if less than two years have passed since the marriage was terminated due to abuse by the spouse.
- Adopted children of US citizens/permanent residents who have suffered abuse from their adoptive parents.
- Parents who have suffered abuse from their children who are US citizens over 21 years old.
Requirements for applicants:
Compliance with general Green Card requirements, including background checks, medical examination and financial sufficiency.
Evidence of physical or psychological abuse such as medical reports, photos of injuries, police reports and witness testimonies.
- Filing Form I-360 as a victim of abuse with supporting evidence.
- An approved I-360 gives the right to file Form I-485 for a Green Card from within the US.
- Immediate relatives of US citizens can file I-360 and I-485 concurrently.
- Relatives of permanent residents must wait for an immigration visa quota availability before filing I-485.
If you are in the US, Form I-485 can be filed without leaving the country after obtaining an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
- Review of the I-360 under VAWA takes 3-7 months on average. After approval of I-360 and I-485, you will receive a Green Card giving the right to live and work permanently in the US.
- If you need legal assistance, feel free to message us on Direct. We are ready to provide free consultations.
- As an immediate relative of a US citizen filing an independent VAWA petition, you can concurrently file Form I-485 for a Green Card. There are no quotas for issuing Green Cards to immediate relatives.
- When filing an independent VAWA petition as a spouse or child of a permanent resident, you will have to wait until there is visa quota availability to file Form I-485. There are quotas in place for issuing Green Cards to relatives of permanent residents.
The VAWA petition review process may take several months. If approved, the applicant will gain permanent resident status and the ability to live and work in the US on a permanent basis.
If you need assistance from an attorney or any consultation, please message us on Direct.