People come to California from other countries for a number of different reasons. Once they are here, many go to live with their spouses who may have previously become citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Others may meet people while living here and end up marrying them. Unfortunately, like many other people living in the United States, these immigrants are the victims of domestic abuse.
It is not easy for any women who are the victims of domestic abuse, but victims who are not citizens or permanent residents can be left in an even more difficult position. If they do not stay with the abuser, they may not be able to stay in the country, which can be extremely concerning, especially if they have started a family here. That is why the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted. It allows the victims of domestic abuse to still obtain a Green Card even without sponsorship from their spouse.
Eligibility requirements for VAWA
There are certain eligibility requirements for people attempting to use VAWA. To be eligible, people must be:
- A spouse of an abuser who is either a citizen or permanent resident in the United States. The spouse could either be the direct victim of the abuser or the parent of a child who is abused by the spouse. This applies to children who are unmarried and under the age of 21.
- Parents of children who are citizens or permanent residents and have been abused by those children.
- Children of parents who are citizens or permanent residents and have been abused. They must be unmarried and under 21 years old or between 21 and 25 years old if they can demonstrate that the abuse caused the delay in them being able to file for a Green Card.
No one should lose out on their privilege of becoming a citizen or obtaining their Green Card because an abuser refuses to sponsor them. Luckily, there is a way through VAWA for the victims of abuse to still become permanent residents and citizens. Experienced attorneys understand the requirements for VAWA and many be able guide one through the process.