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Marriage Visas For Battered Spouses (VAWA)

US Family Green Card Visas For Battered Spouses and Illegal Aliens Spouse of US Citizens Through Self-Sponsorship

VAWA Self-Sponsored Green Card Visas

Victims of spousal abuse, assault and/or battery may be able to self-sponsor for a green card. Where an abusive US citizen spouse refuses to support an application, the alien may be able to file the petition on his or her own behalf under the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The application may be approved with or without the support of the abusive spouse. To qualify for self-sponsorship under VAWA, applicants must show the following:

  • He/she is a spouse of a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR);
  • Entered into a good faith marriage; Has resided with US citizen or LPR;
  • Has good moral character;
  • Was battered or subjected to extreme mental cruelty by spouse OR is the parent of a child abused by USC or LPR spouse; and,
  • Has credible evidence to prove the items above.

Petitions under VAWA are filed using the Form I-360 at the Vermont Service Center.

VAWA Marriage Green Card Visas For Illegal Aliens Married (EWIs) to US Citizens

The USCIS issued a memorandum on April 11, 2008 clarifying that aliens who entered illegally or without inspection (EWI) may still apply for a green card under VAWA if married to a US citizen. This announcement makes it possible for those married and subject to spousal abuse to sponsor themselves for a green card whether or not they entered illegally, without inspection or have overstayed their visas. Read entire memorandum.

On October 31, 2005, the USCIS issued a memorandum regarding eligibility to self-petition for a marriage green card visa as a battered spouse or child of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) within two years o the abuser’s loss of status. Read entire memorandum.

On October 15, 2002, the USCIS issued a memorandum regarding naturalization/citizenship applications by those who obtained a green card through a VAWA green card application. Read entire memorandum.

On August 21, 2002, The USCIS issued a memorandum regarding VAWA green card eligibility for battered applicants whose later discover that their marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident was not legitimated because of bigamy by the US citizen (USC) or legal permanent resident (LPR). Read entire memorandum.