If you are someone who could be at risk of deportation and who is also a victim of domestic violence, something you may want to look into is the Violence Against Women Act’s Cancellation of Removal option. This act, called VAWA, provides relief to victims of domestic violence in America before or during deportation proceedings.
If you were victimized by a spouse or parent who was a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States and potentially face removal due to the expiration of your visa or other matters, you may be able to take steps to stay in the United States without having to have them sponsor you.
What kinds of relief options are provided by the Violence Against Women Act?
VAWA specifically protects self-petitioners who are survivors of domestic violence. Though the name of the act includes women only, both men and women can qualify.
If you are trying to cancel your removal or deportation, you may also want to look into the Cancellation of Removal for Nonpermanent Residents Under the Special Rule for Battered Spouse and Children act, which you may also see referred to as VAWA Cancellation of Removal.
Can you file to stay in the USA on your own?
With VAWA, you can self-petition to stay in the United States when you’re not facing deportation proceedings. You’ll be able to apply for an immigration visa if you can show that you were married to a citizen or LPR who physically or psychologically abused you. The petition, I-360, is appropriate for people who are currently married, divorcees and widows or widowers.
Since VAWA itself cannot be reviewed by a deportation judge, it’s important to know your rights and to speak with an immigration attorney who may help you with this petition through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You may need to use the second form of VAWA, VAWA Cancellation of Removal, to have the judge overseeing the case review your specific circumstances.
Trying to stay in the country can be complicated, especially as a victim of a crime. There are options that may help you stay in the country, but acting quickly is important, so you can turn in the right documents for approval.