I want to know more about VAWA. Here are some of the VAWA Basics.

Green cards are typically obtained through family-based immigration, where a family member petitions for another family member. A person who has been abused by a family member can file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which forms the basis for their own lawful permanent residency application.

What is self-petitioning and who can self-petition?

Self-petitioning means that a green card is possible without a sponsoring US company and without a job offer from a US company.

You can self-petition if you are:

  • A spouse who has been abused by their spouse that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the country. They can also include their under-21-year-old children in the petition.
  • Children whose parents are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. It is possible for the child to file a self-petition, or the other parent may do so on their behalf.
  • Parents of United States citizens, if the parent has been abused by the child, and the child is over 21 years of age at the time of filing.

What do I have to prove for VAWA to be valid?

Spouses must prove the following:

  • A USC/LPR abusive spouse lives with them or lived with them;
  • During the marriage the couple suffered abuse or extreme cruelty;
  • Marriage was entered into in good faith; and
  • Their moral character is good.

Children must prove the following:

  • The USC/LPR abusive parent lives or lived with them; and
  • They suffered abuse or extreme cruelty.

Parents must prove the following:

  • The abuser is a U.S. citizen;
  • The child abuser is over 21 years old;
  • The child abuser lives with them or they have lived with them;
  • Abuse or extreme cruelty was perpetrated on them; and
  • Their moral character is good.