Adjustment of status in the United States is available to spouses of U.S. citizens, their children and the parents of U.S. citizens even if they entered the U.S. without visas. A battered alien’s children may also apply without a petition if the child can show he/she resided with the U.S. citizen when the child was battered or exposed to extreme cruelty. If the battered spouse in good faith married the U.S. citizen but the American citizen entered into a bigamous marriage the battered spouse or child may still qualify for VAWA. Even if the alien spouse or child is abroad and even if the victim alien spouse has divorced the U.S. citizen, still the alien spouse and child may apply.
The application by the abused victim must be made within two years of the occurrence but may be extended upon verifiable proof that the application could not have been filed within that time. A child victim must file before he/she attains the age of 25 if he/she can prove that the abuse from the American citizen had not terminated before the age of 21, provided that the child can prove that the abuse had started before 21.
An alien parent of a U.S. citizen may petition for VAWA even if the U.S. citizen renounced U.S. citizenship. Proof that the parent has resided with the U.S. citizen is required and also that the parent has been subjected to abuse or extreme cruelty. Adoptive parents and step parents are included in the definition of parent.
For an adoptive parent however, the adoptive parent must show evidence that the relationship with the adopted U.S. citizen child began before the U.S. child had reached the age of 16. The parents, step parents or adoptive parents can also apply outside the U.S. for VAWA. Becasue of the serious and importance of this application, it would be best to have it completed by a qualified New York immigration attorney.
All petitioners, spouses, children and parents, when approved are eligible to apply for permission to work. A battered spouse or child after receiving an approval may file for U.S. citizenship within 3 years.
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