Protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act was enacted by Congress in 1994 to protect women against abuse. One of the provisions of this Federal law offers immigration benefits to the victims of domestic violence who are abused by their spouses – U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders).
This law enables a woman, who is a victim of domestic violence, to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States without any assistance from her spouse (as oppose to the standard procedure, which requires a spouse, who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, to file a petition with the Immigration Services before a spouse, who is a foreign citizen, can apply for a Green Card).
Battered Spouse or Child Waiver
This waiver is available to those victims of spousal abuse who already have a conditional Green Card (the very first Green Card issued for two years; also known as “conditional” Green Card). Normally, you would need to be married to your U.S. spouse for two years to file a joint petition to remove conditions. However, under certain circumstances, the battered spouse waiver may allow you to remove the conditions without the assistance from your abuser, even if the marriage was terminated.
This law protects not only battered women but children as well. If your child or you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder, you may be entitled to apply for this waiver.
If you are/were married to a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder and are/were suffering from the domestic violence, we can help you to receive a Green Card without your spouse’s involvement or knowledge even if:
- Your spouse has never petitioned for you with the Immigration Services; or
- Your spouse has filed a petition but withdrew it before, during or after the immigration interview; or
- You have a “conditional” Green Card but your spouse refuses to file a petition to remove the conditions; or
- You divorced your spouse prior to obtaining the permanent Green Card.
There are many agencies out there that help you to stop domestic violence but you need an experienced attorney to provide you with immigration advice and assistance. If you need help, please call Los Angeles Immigration Center immediately at (310) 933-4455 to speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles and to discuss your available options.