Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women’s Act may provide immigration relief to a spouse, child, or parent who is subject to extreme cruelty or battered by a United States Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parents. In these cases the applicant may petition for immigration relief independent of the abusive spouse or parent. The spouse is not required to be married to the abusive U.S. Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident at the time of the petition. 

To successfully petition for a visa, the battered spouse or child needs to prove that s/he lived with the abusive U.S. citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident, was subjected to extreme cruelty during his/her marriage to the U.S. citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident, the marriage was entered into in good faith, s/he is eligible for immigration relief, and that s/he has strong moral character. Additional evidence to prove extreme cruelty or battery may be attached. 

The term “battered spouse” applies to a variety of people, including

  1. a spouse who believed s/he was legally married but was subject to bigamy during that marriage;
  2. abused spouses of U.S. citizens who have passed away in the 2 years immediately preceding the petition being filed;
  3. spouses whose abusive U.S. citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident spouse renounced or lost his/her immigration status in the 2 years immediately preceding the petition. If the marriage has ended, the petitioner can demonstrate that the marriage’s termination was a direct result of abuse by the U.S. citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident of the petitioner.