The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser's help or knowledge.
To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.
You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character.
You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child and you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to victims of domestic violence.
If your petition is approved and you do not have legal status in the United States, USCIS may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States.
Evidence - Physical or Emotional Abuse
In order to prove that you were abused by your USC or LPR spouse, you should submit the following evidence:
- Court orders prohibiting your spouse from approaching you or your children
- Police records for any incidents/arrests during a physical or verbal altercation
- Hospital records documenting injuries sustained during a physical altercation
- Personal declaration attesting to the abuse you suffered at the hands of your USC or LPR spouse
- Letters from friends and families corroborating your claims
- Letters from heads of support groups, shelters, clinics, or religious institutions that you have sought guidance at due to the abuse.
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