When an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident
spouse or parent is unwilling to file for permanent residency on behalf
of a spouse or children, the spouse or children may be able to
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects the
foreign victim’s rights against domestic violence, abuse, or assault
and battery by allowing him or her to self-sponsor for permanent
battered spouse may self-petition and also petition on behalf of his or
her abused children. Abused children under 21 may also self-petition.
To qualify, the self-petitioning spouse must
establish the following facts:
- Legal marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal
permanent resident (LPR)
- Good moral character
- Abuse which took place in the United States
married to a U.S. government employee or member of the U.S. military)
- Extreme cruelty to the U.S. citizen or LPR’s
spouse or child during the marriage
- Good faith marriage, which was not for
To qualify under VAWA, a child must establish:
- He or she is a child as defined in the
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- Other relevant evidence that proves the
relationship with the parent
- Abuse or extreme cruelty
Aliens involved in deportation and removal
proceedings may have VAWA defenses available, even if a previous
removal order has been issued in immigration court.
Aliens who entered illegally may be able to
self-petition under VAWA for permanent residency if married to a U.S.
Violent crime victims who help authorities take
their assailants into custody may qualify for T or U visas.
Get the help you need
Abusive spouses often use the threat of
deportation to prevent a child or spouse from seeking help. If you or
someone close to you is a domestic violence victim, you can get
information about shelters, healthcare and other assistance through the
National Domestic Violence
Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 [TDD].
Lawyers at the Frager Law Firm advise VAWA victims of their legal
rights. Contact us 24 hours a day at 901-763-3180 or during regular
business hours at one of our offices.