VAWA I-360 Approved for Mentally Abused Husband!
March 30, 2024

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At the Law Offices of Sabrina Li, we are proud to announce another successful case where we've guided a husband, who endured emotional abuse, to a victorious I-360 petition approval under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This achievement not only represents our client's resilience but also underscores our commitment to advocating for all victims of abuse, regardless of gender. We invite you to learn more about this inspiring journey toward justice and healing.

Client Seeks Advice After U.S. Citizen Spouse’s Affair

A client came to our office facing a distressing situation. He had recently discovered that his wife, who had filed an I-130 petition for an alien relative for him, had been unfaithful. The petition had long been approved, and he had been under the impression that he was nearing the reunion with his wife and children in the United States, as she was supposed to be gathering the necessary documents for his upcoming immigrant visa interview. However, after confronting his wife about her affair, she expressed no remorse, which shed light on her reluctance to provide the requested information and documents to the National Visa Center (NVC). Subsequent to the confrontation, she unabashedly continued her affair and stopped preparing his immigration paperwork.  

Fear of All Hope Lost

The client was concerned that the death of his marriage meant the end of his ability to be able to remain legally in the United States and was afraid of being separated from the children he and his wife shared.  

Strategic Advocacy Paves the Way for Abused Spouse's U.S. Residency

After a careful evaluation of the client's marriage, our team uncovered the significant psychological and financial abuse he endured at the hands of his wife. She not only appropriated all his assets, registering them solely in her name, but also used manipulation to prevent him from seeing his children. She even went so far as to leverage his immigration status against him, threatening to disrupt it unless her demands were met. Recognizing the severity of the situation, we advised the client on his eligibility to self-petition for permanent residency under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) program.

Our legal team sprang into action to assist our client in collecting evidence and submitting his petition. We aided him in drafting a personal statement that chronicled the severe mistreatment he faced, gathered corroborative evidence, and referred him to a psychologist for evaluation and treatment. In a strategic legal move, we concurrently filed I-360, I-485, and applications for work authorization and advance parole. The client promptly received his work permit and travel document, empowering him to work and travel while his green card application was in process. Achieving status independently, the client broke free from feeling powerless and entrapped in a destructive relationship.

It took nearly three years to secure the I-360 approval. The client was overjoyed by this decision, which not only granted him the freedom to stay in the United States but also provided him the opportunity to live with his cherished children.  

Men in Abusive Relationships are also Eligible for Permanent Status Through VAWA

Common perceptions of abuse often picture women as victims, making it challenging to recognize that men can also be subjected to abuse. Despite the Violence Against Women Act's name suggesting a focus on women, it is important to understand that the act's protections are extended to men who are experiencing abuse in a relationship.

To be eligible for immigration benefits under VAWA, an applicant must establish:

  • They are the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), or parent of a United States citizen
  • They were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty
  • They have resided with the abusive individual  
  • They are a person of good moral character

Recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship can be particularly challenging for men, who might struggle to acknowledge such situations or may not even be aware that what they are experiencing is abuse.  

Note that physical violence is not required for VAWA eligibility; extreme cruelty alone could be sufficient. Extreme cruelty, in the context of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), is defined as a non-physical act of violence or a threat of violence that demonstrates a pattern or intent on the part of the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) to control and maintain dominance through fear.  

USCIS determines whether a self-petitioner has demonstrated extreme cruelty on a case-by-case basis, and no single factor is conclusive. Acts of extreme cruelty may include but are not limited to:

  • Isolation
  • Degradation, use of guilt, minimizing, or blaming
  • Coercion
  • Acts intended to create fear, compliance, or submission by the self-petitioner
  • Denying access to food, family, or medical treatment
  • Threats to remove a child from the self-petitioner’s custody
  • Humiliation
  • Economic control
  • Threatening to commit a violent act toward the self-petitioner (or self-petitioner’s children)
  • Controlling what self-petitioners do and whom they see or talk to
  • Threats of deportation

By submitting a VAWA self-petition, men who have faced abuse can seek lawful protection and status in the United States. Approval of such a petition grants the ability to obtain a work permit and enter deferred action, paving the way to lawful permanent residence without the involvement or awareness of the abusive spouse.  

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li: Compassionate Advocacy for VAWA Petitioners

If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of an abusive relationship and seeking confidential legal expertise, the Law Offices of Sabrina Li offer a compassionate and skilled professional team, ready to help. Specializing in VAWA petitions, we provide a safe space and a listening ear to those in need. Contact us today at (213) 375-8096 or reach out via email at Our commitment is to offer the support and guidance necessary to move forward. Please don't hesitate to reach out—we're here to empower you.

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