November 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
As a battered spouse, child or parent, you are allowed to file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA). Through the VAWA certain spouses, children and parents of US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) can file a petition for themselves without the abuser knowing it. Since the abuser is not aware of this, it allows you to seek both safety and independence from the abuser. The provisions of VAWA is equal to women and men. Your abuser will not be informed that you have filed for immigration benefits under VAWA.
You can also get help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). You will get help regarding shelters, mental heath care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for legal immigration status.
As a battered spouse you will qualify if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident. You can include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 years of age if they have not filed for themselves.
Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse :
To qualify, you should be married to a US citizen or permanent resident abuser or your marriage ended because of death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing, or your spouse lost or renounced American citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing because of an incident of domestic violence, or you were legally married to your abusive US citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
In addition, you have been abused in the US by your US citizen or permanent resident spouse, or you were abused by your US citizen or permanent resident spouse abroad while your spouse was employed by the US government or a member of the US uniformed services, or you are the parent of a child who has been abused by your US citizen or permanent resident spouse.
You should also prove that you entered into the marriage in good faith, not for immigration benefits and that you have resided with your spouse. Also remember that you should have good moral character.
If you meet the requirements, you have to file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, with the required supporting documentation and mail it to the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If you qualify, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to certain victims of domestic violence . If the USCIS approves yourForm I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant and you do not have legal immigration status in the US, they may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the US.