The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was passed in 1994 in order to protect immigrants from abusive spouses. Under this act, a woman (or man) who is being abused by a spouse who is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen will be able to obtain his or her own permanent residence or green card independently of the spouse. This method of seeking permanent residency in the United States is referred to as "VAWA self-petitioning". The abusive spouse does not play a part in the petitioning process, and does not even need to know that the abuse victim is filing for the petition in the first place.
A VAWA victim of domestic violence or a qualifying child or parent of such a victim may be eligible for permanent residence (a green card) under VAWA. Applicants do not have to be female. Applicants do not need the assistance of their abuser to submit an application. An interested individual should consult a NYC immigration attorney to determine his or her eligibility under VAWA.
The situation is not without hope. There are numerous courses of action that can be taken to assist you during this very trying time. If you are currently in deportation and removal proceedings, cancellation of removal may be appropriate or a VAWA for battered spouse or child petition or waiver may be required. You may also qualify for a U-Visa.
Contact us to schedule a consultation at our law office in Plainfield, New Jersey. For your convenience, we will meet with you during evenings and Saturdays by appointment.
The Law Offices of Patrick C. McGuinness, LLC
120 W. 7th St
Plainfield, NJ 07060