VAWA Evidence

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character.

Evidence – Good Faith Marriage

In order to prove your relationship to your USC or LPR spouse, you should submit the following documentation: Bank statements for joint checking, savings, and credit card accounts; Joint health, life, property, and auto insurance agreements, statements, and cards; Utility bills showing both names (electricity, water, gas, trash, cable, internet, cell phone, etc.); Tax returns filed as married showing both names; Documents showing joint ownership of real property, cars, or investments; Life insurance policies, wills, and trusts, designating your spouse as a beneficiary; Travel itineraries and hotel bookings from joint vacations or trips;  Photos from joint vacations or trips, particularly trips abroad to visit family members; Tickets to events you both attended or plan to attend;  Receipts for any gifts you have purchased for each other; Phone and text message records showing that you and your spouse communicate on a regular basis.

VAWA Green Card

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character. You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child and you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to victims of domestic violence. If your petition is approved and you do not have legal status in the United States, USCIS may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States.

Green Card

If you have an approved Form I-360, you may be eligible to file for a green card. If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child, your children listed on your approved Form I-360 may also be eligible to apply for a green card.

VAWA Filing Process

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character. You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child and you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to victims of domestic violence. If your petition is approved and you do not have legal status in the United States, USCIS may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States.

VAWA Process Generally

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: o Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; o Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; o Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and o Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character.

VAWA Evidence – Good Character

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character.

Evidence – Good Moral Character

To document good moral character you should try to get letters from family, friends, or members of the community who can attest to your character. The letters should be dated, notarized and signed & include the nature of your relationship and the individuals assessment. Also, you should try to get copies of: photographs of you and your family, photographs of your children, tax records, employment pay stubs.

Status of CAM Programs

USCIS has issued the following press release about the Central American Minors Program.

On Nov. 9, 2017, the Department of State stopped accepting new applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program. USCIS will stop interviewing CAM cases on Jan. 31, 2018. After that date, individuals with pending applications who have not been interviewed will receive a notice with further instructions.

The decision to terminate the CAM refugee program was made as part of the U.S. government review of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for FY 2018.

The CAM program was established in 2014 to provide certain minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras the opportunity to be considered, while still in their home country, for refugee resettlement in the United States. Individuals who were determined to be ineligible for refugee status were then considered by USCIS for the possibility of entering the United States under parole. The parole portion of the CAM program was terminated in August 2017.

VAWA Petitions for Parents

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.

Generally

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

Eligibility

To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.

Process

You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character.

Eligibility for Parents

If you have a qualifying parent/son or daughter relationship, you can also apply for VAWA relief with proof of the following: You are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years of age when the self-petition is filed, or you are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who lost or renounced citizenship status related to an incident of domestic violence, or you are the parent of a U.S. citizen son or daughter who was at least 21 years of age and who died within 2 years prior to filing the self-petition; You have suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen son or daughter; You have resided with the abusive son or daughter; You are a person of good moral character.

DHS Statement on TPS from Haiti

WASHINGTON— Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti with a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019. This decision follows then-Secretary Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months.

The decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute. Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.

Acting Secretary Duke met with Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Haitian Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor recently in Washington to discuss the issue.

In 2017 alone, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted extensive outreach to the Haitian communities throughout the country. These include but are not limited to community forums on TPS, panel discussions with Haitian community organizers, stakeholder teleconferences, regular meetings with TPS beneficiaries, news releases to the Haitian community, meetings with Haitian government officials, meetings at local churches, and listening sessions.

Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens. Haiti has also demonstrated a commitment to adequately prepare for when the country’s TPS designation is terminated.

In May 2017, then-Secretary Kelly announced a limited extension for Haiti’s TPS designation, stating that he believed there were indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continued at pace – may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018. At the time, then-Secretary Kelly stated that his six-month extension should give Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.

To allow for an orderly transition, the effective date of the termination of TPS for Haiti will be delayed 18 months. This will provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible. It will also provide time for Haiti to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens. During this timeframe, USCIS will work with the State Department, other DHS components and the Government of Haiti to help educate relevant stakeholders and facilitate an orderly transition.

Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the respective termination or extension periods. Further details about this termination for TPS will appear in a Federal Register notice.

Court Order on Presidential Proclamation on Visas

On November 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted, in part, the government’s motion for an emergency stay of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii’s October 17, preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction prohibited the U.S. government from enforcing or implementing Sections 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), and (h) of Presidential Proclamation 9645, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.” Under the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the earlier preliminary injunction is stayed, except as to “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” In light of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, visa applicants who are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen and do not have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States are now subject to the applicable visa restrictions under the Presidential Proclamation. Consequently, any applicants who lack such a claim, if found otherwise eligible for a visa, will be denied under the Proclamation, unless they are exempt or qualify for a waiver under the Proclamation. The court orders did not affect Sections (d) and (f) of the Proclamation, so nationals from North Korea and Venezuela remain subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, with respect to nationals of those countries.

Additional Background:  The President issued Presidential Proclamation 9645 on September 24, 2017.  Per Section 2 of Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States), a global review was conducted to determine what additional information is needed from each foreign country to assess whether foreign nationals who seek to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat.  As part of that review, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) developed a comprehensive set of criteria to evaluate the information-sharing practices, policies, and capabilities of foreign governments on a worldwide basis.  At the end of that review, which included a 50-day period of engagement with foreign governments aimed at improving their information sharing practices, there were seven countries whose information sharing practices were determined to be “inadequate” and for which the President deemed it necessary to impose certain restrictions on the entry of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are nationals of these countries.  The President also deemed it necessary to impose restrictions on one country due to the “special concerns” it presented.  These restrictions are considered important to addressing the threat these existing information-sharing deficiencies, among other things, present to the security and welfare of the United States and pressuring host governments to remedy these deficiencies.

Visa Bulletin – December 2017

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards.

Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for December 2017.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-December-2017.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.