The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows battered immigrants to petition for legal status in the United States without relying on abusive U.S.citizen or legal permanent resident spouses, parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status applications. For many immigrant victims of domestic violence, battery and extreme cruelty, the U.S.citizen or lawful permanent resident family members who would sponsor their applications will threaten to withhold legal immigration sponsorship as a tool of abuse.
Victims of domestic violence, battery and extreme cruelty whose Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant self-petitions are approved may file Adjustment of Status applications directly (self-petition). Once a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant VAWA self-petition is approved, the immigrant victim may file an Adjustment of Status application to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) directly.
The purpose of the VAWA program is to allow victims the opportunity to “self-petition” or independently seek legal immigration status in the U.S.Email Angela Emerick