The VAWA provisions allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to file a petition for permanent residence for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge.
VAWA is not for women only – many men have been successful in claiming abuse from their wives. Abuse does not have to be physical – the standard is “extreme cruelty” so mental and emotional abuse may be considered.
You may file a VAWA for yourself if you are, or were:
- The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident – if you are divorced or widowed, you may still apply as long as the divorce or death did not occur more than two years before you file. You may also include your unmarried children who are under 21 as dependents;
- The parent of a child who has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you may include your unmarried children who are under 21 as dependents;
- The parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter; or
- An abused child under 21, unmarried and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent, and your children may also be included on your petition (you may 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.)
Once your VAWA case is approved, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States. Your children listed on your approved petition may also apply for work authorization. Depending on the type of relationship you have with your abuser, you and your children may be immediately eligible to seek Adjustment of Status.
Klinke Immigration is recognized nationally for its work in VAWA. Tracie Klinke has given presentations across the United States on VAWA – from legislative updates to winning strategies.