Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
- A U.S. citizen parent;
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter;
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
- An LPR parent.
You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
We had a client who suffered abuse from her spouse but we had no records about him. We didn’t know whether he was a lawful permanent resident or a US Citizen, all we had was his social security number. By requesting that USCIS search for his immigration status, we discovered that he actually was USC, without client having to contact him at all. A year later, her case was approved.
- You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver.
If you are an exchange visitor (J-1 Visa), you are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement if:
- Your participation in the exchange program was financed at any time in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. Government or by the government of your country of citizenship or nationality or last foreign residence;
- Prior to being admitted as an exchange visitor, or acquiring such status after admission, your country of citizenship or nationality or last foreign residence was designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as clearly requiring your specialized knowledge or skill; or
- You were admitted as an exchange visitor or acquired such status after admission on or after January 10, 1977, to participate in graduate medical education or training.
Our firm handles exceptional hardship waivers for J-1 physicians in the third category, those who are here for medical education or training. These physicians unfortunately also do not qualify for No Objection Statements from their home country:
Exchange visitors (J-1); spouses (J-2) who are no longer married to the exchange visitors; or sons and daughters of the J-1 and/or J-2, who married or who are 21 years of age or older, may apply for a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement of INA section 212(e) based on exceptional hardship to the exchange visitor’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or children.
We prepare your application to show that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or children could suffer exceptional hardship in the event that the J-1 spouse is forced to complete her foreign residency requirement. Through extensive research, organization of financial documents and detailed statements, we address (1) how the U.S. Citizen spouse will suffer exceptional hardship if he leaves the country with the J-1 spouse, and (2) how the U.S. Citizen spouse will suffer exceptional hardship if the J-1 spouse leaves without him.