27 September 2012 

MAY A BENEFICIARY OF AN APPROVED -I-360 BATTERED SPOUSE SELF PETITION ADJUST STATUS TO LPR?

What are the advantages of adjustment of status under VAWA compared to the regular adjustment of status?

A battered spouse of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may self-petition under the Violence against Women Act and file an adjustment of status upon approval of the I-360 petition if the visa is currently available. If the spouse of the self-petitioner is a lawful permanent resident, the self petitioner will have to wait until the I-360 petition is approved and the priority date for the second preference is current. Although the law is labeled The Violence Against Women A” (“VAWA” for short), a male victim of spousal violence may avail himself of the benefits of the act.

Question: What documents are needed to prove battery or extreme cruelty?

Answer: Evidence of abuse from police, judges or other court officials, medical records, reports from doctors and psychologist, affidavits from clergy, neighbors, friends or relatives, protective orders from court and other documents showing pattern of abuse.

Question: When can a self petitioner file an application for work authorization? 

Answer: A self petitioner is eligible for employment authorization upon approval of the self petition and filing of adjustment of status, or upon receipt of the “Supplemental Notice of Deferred Action” . 

Question: What are the advantages of adjustment of status under VAWA compared to the regular adjustment of status?

Answer: VAWA adjustment of status has the following advantages:

1. An approved VAWA self petitioner need not have been inspected or admitted into the U.S. This means that individuals who are “Entered Without Inspection” or who are “Present Without Authorization” are eligible to adjust status under VAWA.

2. Having worked without authorization is not a bar to adjustment.

3. Having overstayed a nonimmigrant visa or having violated the terms of nonimmigrant visa is not a bar to adjustment.

4. Having been admitted as a nonimmigrant under “D” [crewmember], “C” [alien in transit without a visa], or “S” [government witness] does not disqualify an approved self petitioner from adjustment of status.

5. Having been admitted under Visa Waiver Pilot Program, (“VWPP”), is not a bar to adjustment.

6. Approved self petitioners do not have to pay the $1000 penalty if they adjust status under Sec. 245(i).

Note: This article is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

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