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.