Victims of Domestic Violence (VAWA)
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, and you are the victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to obtain a green card without the knowledge or assistance of your spouse. Victims of Domestic Violence (VAWA) provisions allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.
The U visa can be extremely helpful for people who would not otherwise qualify for legal status in the United States. If you or your child has been a victim of domestic violence, abuse or certain other crimes, you may be eligible for a U visa. Even if you entered the U.S. without permission, were deported, or have a criminal record, you may still qualify for the U visa if you assisted law enforcement in investigating the crime for which you were the victim.
There is a 10,000 limit on the number of U visas available each year. If USCIS determines you are eligible for the U visa, but none is available, you will be placed on a waiting list and will be eligible for a work permit while you wait for a U visa. After 3 years on the U visa, you may be eligible to apply for a green card.
Qualifying Criminal Activities
Abduction, Abusive Sexual Contact, Blackmail, Domestic Violence, Extortion, False Imprisonment, Female Genital Mutilation, Felonious Assault, Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting, Hostage, Incest, Involuntary Servitude, Kidnapping, Manslaughter, Murder, Obstruction of Justice, Peonage, Perjury, Prostitution, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Slave Trade, Stalking, Torture, Trafficking, Witness Tampering, Unlawful Criminal Restraint.