It is a common misconception that the “VAWA visa” is available only to females. This stems from the fact that the federal law that authorized protection for battered and abused spouses is entitled the Violence Against Women Act. However, the Act’s protections do not extend exclusively to females, but also includes males, children, and parents as well. Under USCIS guidelines, the following categories of abused individuals are eligible to apply for immigration protection under VAWA:
Abused spouses (male or female) of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may file; a parent may also file as an abused spouse if his/her child has been abused by the parent’s US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse
An individual may file if he/she is an abused parent of a US Citizen son or daughter
An individual may file if he/she is under 21, unmarried, and has been abused by his/her US Citizen or permanent resident parent. Under certain circumstances, a person may also file as a child after age 21 but before age 25.
Within each category, there are specific criteria and eligibility that must be satisfied. However, what all three classes have in common is a showing of abuse.
Abuse is not limited to physical battery. Fortunately, the law does recognize and Vermont Service Center adjudicators are specially trained to consider cases where there may not necessarily be physical abuse but extreme cruelty. Extreme cruelty can be manifested in many different ways and forms but often results in severe emotional or psychological trauma to the victim. It is crucial to assemble as much evidence as possible in support of the I-360 application. Some examples of relevant documentation, in addition to a personal statement/declaration from the applicant, may include but are not limited to:
· Police reports
· Medical and hospital records
· Witness statements or affidavits
· Text messages and letters
· Psychological evaluation/report
For more information on the process and whether you qualify for a green card under VAWA, please contact our office. The above is general information only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship nor should it be relied upon as advice in lieu of consultation with an attorney.