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Effects of Loss of Abuser’s U.S. Citizenship or Loss of Legal Permanent Resident Status on VAWA Applications

By March 21, 2023Immigration
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The Violence Against Women Act also known as VAWA is a law that protects the rights of noncitizen victims of battery or extreme cruelty by certain U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident family members to help them obtain protection from deportation and gain lawful permanent resident status also known as a green card.

Qualifying relationships include relationships where the noncitizen victim is married to the abuser, the noncitizen is a child who has been abused by a parent, the noncitizen has been abused by an adult son or daughter, where the stepchild is abused by a stepparent or where the stepparent is abused by an adult stepson or daughter. We have discussed VAWA and its requirements here.

Can a noncitizen still be eligible for VAWA protection if the abuser lost either U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status?

Most likely yes, the noncitizen will remain eligible under certain circumstances.

The noncitizen will remain eligible if the loss or renunciation of status was related or due to an incident of domestic violence. Furthermore, the loss or renunciation must have occurred within the 2-year period immediately preceding the filing of the self-petition.

In cases where the victims were parents, the abusive son or daughter must have been 21 years of age or older when the son or daughter’s citizenship or status was lost or renounced.

Demonstrating that the loss of status or renunciation of citizenship was due to the domestic violence

USCIS considers the full history of domestic violence when determining whether the abuser’s loss or renunciation of status is related to an incident of domestic violence.

The evidence submitted must demonstrate:

  • The circumstances surrounding the loss or renunciation of status;
  • Whether the loss or renunciation of status is related to the incident of domestic violence; and
  • The loss or renunciation of status occurred within the 2-year period immediately preceding the filing of the self-petition.

Examples of evidence demonstrating the above requirements may include but are not limited to:

  • Self-affidavits;
  • Police, child protective services, and other related reports;
  • Court records;
  • Immigration records; and
  • Any other credible evidence of the above requirements.

Will a VAWA applicant lose eligibility if the loss of status or renunciation of citizenship occurs after filing of the self-petition?

In most cases no. As long as the self-petition was filed before the loss of status or renunciation, the subsequent loss of status or renunciation will not affect eligibility or an already approved self-petition.

However, in cases where the victim is a parent, if the U.S. citizen son or daughter loses or renounces citizenship, the self-petitioning parent will no longer be eligible for VAWA relief and may have an approved application revoked.

Regardless your situation, if you have been a victim of violence by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, parent, spouse or child, please contact us to help you review your case to confirm your eligibility under VAWA and potentially assist you with the complex application process.

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