I-360 VAWA Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION:

Approved I-360 but marriage has been annulled, will the adjustment of status be approved for the green card?

Hello Ayan! My name is L.C. I am sorry to bother you with this but I was looking for your input. I am an immigration law practitioner in Mesa AZ. I have a client for whom I got an approved I-360 based on VAWA. Prior to his adjustment interview today, his spouse obtained an annulment of their marriage.

The officer conducting the interview could not render a decision on the case and said he would get back to us later. I and my client are super worried that the annulment may affect his ability to adjust. The annulment states “fraud” as the basis though this is not the case and my client just did not have the resources to fight the termination of marriage case since he was here in AZ and the spouse filed in California.

Their marriage though was bona fide and the spouse was just really a mean and vindictive person. Vermont approved the I-360 but will the subsequent annulment result in a denial of his 485? I’m really worried about this and would like your input. Thank you so much.

ANSWER:

That is a great question and from what I’ve read, the adjustment of status must be based on a valid marriage. If the marriage was subsequently annulled before AOS is submitted, you may not get a successful outcome. An annulment, as you know, is as if the marriage never took place which takes away the legal basis for green card eligibility.

The petition may be approved but your client will have trouble at the interview where they will be asked about the annulment of the marriage due to an alleged fraud. It’s possible to get approved if you can prove the marriage was bona fide and what the circumstances were when the marriage was annulled and why your client didn’t fight for a divorce instead.

You have an uphill battle to clear your client of this fraud accusation if USCIS has already been notified by the petitioner.


QUESTION:

How do I apply for VAWA and how long will it take?

Thank you so much for responding.Am sorry for writing to you this late.
I found your website and I read your story which motivated me to reach out to you.You seem to be a very nice person.I would kindly  like to share my story with you. .I come from Kenya.I moved to the USA in December 2015 .I came in with K 1 visa.
After settling in the Us, I started having trouble with my marriage.My husband became so violent and abusive all the time.I was in fear so much because he kept on threatening about being deported back home. I did not have any friends at all.I was always in fear and afraid of being deported.All this time my life became miserable.
He pulled out the affidavit of support and forced me to sign the divorce papers.Innocently, I did it. I later had to seek refuge in domestic violence shelter. In the meantime I was seeking for legal help. It has been almost 2 years  now still struggling.I never had any work permit or done any work before.
I filed for VAWA with the help of a pro bono attorney. My worry too is the time to wait for my paperwork. Do you think I have a chance of winning this case?
I don’t have much experience in this country and I know it has a quite complicated system. I would really appreciate your advice.
ANSWER:

Wow, I am so sorry that you had to deal with all of that alone! If you have documented the abuse and can also include other evidence you have a good chance of VAWA approval.

I actually met another woman from NY who also came on a K1 from Nigeria and she was badly abused. She found out she was pregnant and that’s when she left with my urging her to. She lived in a shelter a few months and then applied for VAWA with the help of an pro bono attorney.

She now lives in an apartment that is paid by the shelter and is waiting for her green card. It’s not easy because you can work yet but it’s important to apply as soon as you can. The VAWA process can take almost a year to process.