Asylum, VAWA, and U-Visa
Overview of the Victim Based Green Card Options
It is possible to obtain a green card due to past experiences of victimization. This page will provide a basic overview of these options, and links to a more detailed overview of these various options. The categories include victims of of certain criminal activities seeking U-visa classification, victims of abuse during marriage to a US Citizen or US Lawful Permanent Resident filing VAWA self-petitions, and political asylum seekers.
Click on any of the topics on the right to read a more detailed overview and to find additional articles, resources, case studies and more.
Victim Based Categories List:
- U-Visa Criminal Victims: For those who have been victims of certain criminal activity, it may be possible to obtain U-visa status, which allows the victim to apply for a green card within three years. The list is specific, and one very common basis is where the candidate is a victim of armed robbery despite robbery not being on the list. This is possible because the acts involved in an armed robbery may qualify as felonious assault in some cases, which is on the list of U-visa crimes.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition: For those who have been a victim of abuse, which includes extreme mental cruelty or physical assault, during their marriage to a US Citizen or US Permanent Resident spouse, a VAWA self-petition is possible. This petition will lead to a green card as though the abusive spouse cooperatively sponsored them.
- Political Asylum: Applicants for political asylum must prove that the have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country on account of an immutable characteristic such as race, religion, social group, and previously expressed political opinions. There are several conditions in addition to the basic criteria described here.