Applying for a VAWA petition with USCIS

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Applying for a VAWA petition with USCIS

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides an immigration benefit to certain people who have been victims of domestic violence or abuse at the hands of their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse, you may be eligible to file a VAWA petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain legal status in the United States. 

Note: anyone—regardless of gender—can file a VAWA petition with USCIS.

Applying for a VAWA petition with USCIS

Who is Eligible to File a VAWA Petition?

To be eligible to file a VAWA petition, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be the victim of abuse or domestic violence perpetrated by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.
  • You must have entered into the relationship in good faith, meaning that you did not marry or enter into the relationship solely for immigration purposes.
  • You must have resided with your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child at some point during the relationship.
  • You must be a person of good moral character.
  • You must show that you have suffered physical or emotional abuse, or extreme cruelty, at the hands of your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.

How to file a VAWA petition with USCIS?

To file a VAWA petition with USCIS, you will need to complete and submit Form I-360, along with supporting documentation. The following documents may be required:

  • Evidence of the relationship with the abuser, such as marriage or birth certificates.
  • Evidence of abuse or domestic violence, such as police reports, medical records, or restraining orders.
  • Proof of good faith marriage or relationship, such as joint bank account statements, joint leases, or joint tax returns.
  • Proof of residency, such as utility bills, rental agreements, or bank statements.
  • Evidence of good moral character, such as employment records, school transcripts, or character references.

If your VAWA petition is denied, you may have the opportunity to file an appeal or a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. However, the appeals process can be lengthy and may require additional evidence or documentation to support your case.

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Working with an Experienced Immigration Attorney

It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing a VAWA petition, as the process can be complex and may require additional evidence or documentation depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

USCIS may request additional documentation if it appears your petition is incomplete, or simply deny your petition for insufficient evidence. An immigration attorney at Sadek Law Offices can walk you through the process and be with you every step of the way.

Filing a VAWA petition with USCIS can be a complex process, but it may provide a path to legal status for individuals who have been victims of domestic violence or abuse.

If you believe you may be eligible for a VAWA petition, contact an immigration attorney at Sadek Law Offices for guidance and assistance with the process. Schedule a free consultation today!