Three Major Policy Changes made by USCIS for VAWA Self-Petition (LIVE)

What is VAWA?

VAWA, also known as the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, was enacted to allow non-US citizens or immigrants who are victims of abuse or battery to file for lawful status without the abuser’s assistance.

The legislation allows victims to be self-sufficient and escape their grave circumstances by offering them a work permit, the right to certain federal and state public benefits, and the opportunity to get a green card.

Policy Change #1: Divorce does not preclude a stepchild or stepparent from being eligible for VAWA self-petition.

In the case of Arguijo v. USCIS, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that a divorce does not terminate the relationship between a stepparent and a stepchild. Thus, they are still eligible for a VAWA self-petition.

This means that if a parent-stepparent marriage ends in divorce, a stepchild or a stepparent remains eligible for the VAWA self-petition – as long as they meet other eligibility requirements.

Policy Change #2: Proving a connection between the abuse suffered and criminal conviction, if any, can help establish the good moral character requirements.

One of the primary requirements for a VAWA petition is that the petitioner is of good moral character. This means that you can be barred if you are convicted of any crime within a 3-year period before filing your VAWA petition.

Policy Change #3: Proving the shared residency requirement has been expanded to consider more situations.

Among the requirements for VAWA applications is proving that you shared a residence or a home during the marriage with your spouse or during the qualifying relationship (such as a parent-child relationship).

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