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 Legal Services

Battered Spouse Petitions
Under the Violence Against Women Act
Over the years, the partners at Durkin & Puri have been pleased to help many immigrants find protection and legal status under the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Although the title of the act implies that it is aimed at violence against women, both men and women are allowed to apply for protection under the Act.

Essentially, the law helps people who have been battered or abused by certain relatives who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The protected person can self-petition based on the abuse they have suffered and eventually, obtain a green card.

The following individuals are eligible to file their own petitions under VAWA:
  • Spouses who have been battered or abused by their U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident spouses. Unmarried children under the age of 21, who have not filed their own self-petition, may be included in the parent's own petition.
  • Parents of children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) who have been abused by the parent's U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.
  • Children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) who have been battered or abused by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent.
  • Parents who have been abused by a U.S. citizen child
It is important to know that the information submitted in support of the self-petition is kept confidential and your abuser would never be contacted by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

A substantial amount of evidence concerning the abuse needs to be submitted in support of your self-petition. Also, if you are petitioning based on abuse by a spouse, you must provide evidence that the marriage was a genuine one. In addition, you need to be able to show that you are a person of good moral character.

VAWA self-petitions are complicated and require a lot of work on the part of both the attorney handling the case and the self-petitioner. However, the potential positive outcome for our clients who have been victimized, often for years, makes these cases so rewarding and worth every minute of our time. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Durkin & Puri contact us.
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