Law Office of Irwin M. Avelino

Battered Spouse, Children & Parents

VAWA_Domestic Violence_Immigration_Attorney_Lawyer_Avelino_Los_AngelesAs a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization.

Those Eligible to File

  • Spouse:¬†You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves.
  • Parent: You may file for yourself if you are the parent of a child who has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. You may include on your petition your children, including those who have not been abused, if they have not filed for themselves. You may also file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
  • Child: You may file for yourself if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. Your children may also be included on your petition. You may file for yourself as a child after age 21 but before age 25 if you can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.

Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse

  • You are:
    • married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser

    or

    • your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing, or
    • your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing due to an incident of domestic violence, or
    • you believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
  • You:
    • have been abused in the United States by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or
    • have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse abroad while your spouse was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services, or
    • are the parent of a child who has been subjected to abuse by your U.S. citizen or permanent spouse.
  • You entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.
  • You have resided with your spouse.
  • You are a person of good moral character.

Eligibility Requirements for a Child

  • You:
    • are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser
    • were the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to an incident of domestic violence
    • have been abused in the United States by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent
    • have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent abroad while your parent was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services
    • have resided with the abusive parent
    • have evidence to prove your relationship to your parent
    • must provide evidence of good moral character if you are over the age of 14

Eligibility Requirements for a Parent

  • You are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter or were the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status related to an incident of domestic violence or died within 2 years prior to filing
  • You have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter
  • You have resided with the abusive son or daughter
  • You are a person of good moral character