VAWA Immigration Attorneys in Philadelphia, PA

VAWA: Battered Spouses, Children and Parents

Because of an amendment that was inserted into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), battered spouses, children, and parents may file an immigrant visa petition. Furthermore, VAWA allows certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, and certain spouses and children of permanent residents to file a petition themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This is important because it allows victims to seek safety and independence from their abuser without their knowledge because they are not notified of the filing.

Persons Who May File

  • The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident may file an immigrant visa petition. A person can also file as an abused spouse if their U.S. citizen spouse or permanent resident abused their children
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen may file if they were abused by their U.S. citizen son or daughter
  • Children may file themselves if they are under 21, unmarried, and were abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. Furthermore, any children that the filing child has can be included in the immigrant visa petition. Abused children may also file for themselves after 21 but before 25, if they can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for their delay in filing

Eligibility Requirements for Filing Parties

There are various eligibility requirements for spouses, children, and parents. These requirements are described in the following sections.

Spouses

With respect to spouses, there must first be a qualifying spousal relationship. These include the following:

  • A relationship in which the petitioner is married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser
  • A marriage was terminated by death or a divorce that was related to the abuse, within the 2 years preceding the filing of the petition
  • A spouse has lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years preceding the petition filing due an incident of domestic violence
  • A spouse who believed that they were legally married to their abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage turned out to be illegitimate solely because of the bigamy of the abusive spouse

Second, in addition to having a qualifying spousal relationship, the abused spouse must have also suffered battery or extreme cruelty from their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or their child must have suffered battery or extreme cruelty from their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.

Third, the abused spouse must have entered into the marriage in good faith and not solely to obtain immigration benefits.

Fourth, the abused spouse must have been residing with their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse; and lastly, the abused spouse is a person of good moral character.

Children

With respect to children, there must first be a qualifying parent/child relationship. These include the following:

  • The child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser
  • The child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent residency status because of an incident of domestic violence

Second, in addition to having a qualifying parent/child relationship, the abused child must also have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by his or her U.S citizen or permanent resident parent.

Third, the child must have resided with the abusive parent; and lastly, the child must be a person of good moral character. Under the law, any child who is 13 years old or less is presumed to be a person of good moral character.

Parents

With respect to parents, there must first be a qualifying parent/son or parent/daughter relationship. These include the following:

  • The parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years old when the petition is filed
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status due to an incident of domestic violence
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who was at least 21 years old and who did within the 2 years preceding the filing of the petition

Second, in addition to having a qualifying parent/son or parent daughter relationship, the abused parent must have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen son or daughter.

Third, the abused parent must have resided with the abused son or daughter; and lastly, the abused parent must be a person of good moral character.

Individuals who wish to change their immigration status using the battered spouse, child, or parent provisions, must file an I-360. Due to the complexity of the process, it is helpful to have an attorney assist you with the filing.

Immigration Attorney Jose C. Campos, Esq. can assist you in filing an I-360 and with any other needs during the battered spouse, child, or parent visa application process. Please contact us to get more information or to schedule an appointment.

Additional Information

Battered Spouse, Children, and Parents

Forms

Form I-360, I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant

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