VAWA for Spouses Facts

  • VAWA may be an option if you are currently married to, separated from, or divorced from your U.S. citizen or green card holding spouse.
  • Although VAWA stands for the “Violence Against Women Act”, both MEN and WOMEN can be eligible to receive work permits and green cards through this program.
  • USCIS understands that an immigrant spouse can be in a vulnerable position in a toxic or abusive relationship with a U.S. citizen or green card holding spouse who could use the immigration process to further that abuse. For example, a U.S. citizen spouse could threaten to not file or withdraw an immigration petition to force their immigrant spouse to comply with whatever they demand. The VAWA program creates a way for men and women in toxic relationships with U.S. citizens and green card holders to get work permits and green cards on their own without their spouse’s help.
  • If you have children under the age of 21 years old, you may be able to include them in your petition.

Eligibility Checklist

  • You must be/have been legally married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (or established a common law marriage in one of the several states that recognize common law marriage).

  • You must have experienced serious marital problems with your spouse. USCIS defines these problems as experiencing battery or extreme cruelty at the hands of your spouse. You could be eligible if your spouse has taken advantage of you, threatened you, pushed/hit/scratched/slapped you, or made you do things that you did not feel comfortable doing. Extreme cruelty could take the form of emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual or financial abuse or using your immigration status to control, coerce or intimidate you.

  • You are living with or have lived with your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.

  • You are a person of good moral character.

Frequently Asked Questions on VAWA for Spouses.

No, you can remain married to and living with your spouse even if you file a VAWA petition. While many of our clients have separated from or divorced their spouses due to the marital issues they experienced, other clients choose to remain in their relationships. Spouses can choose to remain together for many reasons including for their children, for financial stability, or because their spouse’s behavior has changed.

Yes, you can file a VAWA application up to two years after the date your divorce was final. If your divorce happened more than 2 years ago, you could be eligible to file for VAWA Cancellation of Removal through removal (deportation) proceedings in immigration court.

Yes, you can file a VAWA petition up to two years after the date of death.

We’ll share with you a list of documents we can use to help win your VAWA case. The most important piece of evidence in your case will be your declaration or affidavit. The VAWA experts on our team will interview you in detail to draft a thorough and compelling declaration for your case.

Yes, you can apply for a work permit and sometimes even a green card even if you entered “without inspection” by crossing the border without a visa.

No, your petition will be kept confidential by our office and by USCIS. In fact, the VAWA Unit within USCIS is held to a high standard to keep VAWA petitions confidential in order to protect VAWA applicants.

The main purpose of the VAWA program is to provide legal status to the immigrant spouse and not to prejudice the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.

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