VAWA Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse are as follows:
- Qualifying spousal relationship:
- You are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser or
- your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing your petition, or
- your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing your petition due to an incident of domestic violence, or
- you believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
- You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse:
- You have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, or
- your child has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. or permanent resident spouse.
- You entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.
- You have resided with your spouse.
- You are a person of good moral character.
If you meet the required elements of a spouse eligible for VAWA, you must complete the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. The I-360 process “certifies” the eligibility requirements. If USCIS establishes that all requirements are met, which can take many months to process, the Spouse can receive employment authorization and a Green Card in the Future.
Below are the key points for the I-360 process:
- You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC).
- If you are living abroad at the time of filing the self-petition, you may file Form I-360 if:
- the abuser is an employee of the U.S. government,
- the abuser is a member of the uniformed services, or
- you were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty in the United States.
- If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child and you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice (Prima Facie Determination Notice) valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to certain victims of domestic violence.
- If your Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant is approved and you do not have legal immigration status in the United States, we may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States
Process to receive Employment in the United States
If you have an approved Form I-360, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States. In addition, if you have been placed in deferred action from an approved Form I-360, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States. To apply to work in the United States, you must file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the Vermont Service Center.
Also, your children listed on your approved Form I-360, may also apply for work authorization.
If you have any concerns about VAWA, you should speak with a local Immigration Attorney, or you may call Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (910) 526-0066 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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