KEW GARDENS, NY – Once again, Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov has helped a client achieve the life-changing results they need. SBAGK Managing Partner and Immigration Department Head, Preet Gill, is pleased to announce the approval a groundbreaking petition under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”).

The Decision by United States and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to approve a battered spouse petition under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) was particularly groundbreaking because it was based upon emotional abuse, not physical abuse.

Under VAWA, a spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident can petition the U.S. Government to remain, work, and receive their permanent resident card if the following conditions are met: (1) the applicant entered into a good faith marriage with a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident; (2) the applicant lived with their spouse for a period of time; (3) the applicant was subjected to extreme cruelty; and (4) the applicant is of good moral character.

“Most battered spouses are subjected to abuse that may not leave behind a bruise, a doctor’s visit or even have any witnesses; it’s invisible,” said Gill. “The applicant has suffered silently, terrified of their spouse or feeling trapped that they cannot leave the relationship.”

Because there is no physical evidence of abuse, many victims incorrectly think they will not qualify for VAWA. But the underlying crux of a successful VAWA petition is extreme cruelty which can come in many shapes and forms.  For example, in this instance, approval was based on the U.S. Citizen or permanent resident spouse’s addiction and criminal record. 

“Through this and many other petitions, USCIS has made clear that we are in a new generation,” said Gill. “Gone are the days having immigration petitions denied because there is no physical evidence of abuse. I’m happy the USCIS is acknowledging that abuse can take many forms. That gives me and a lot of my clients hope.”

Even with the VAWA approval, it’s still an uphill battle. Approval of a VAWA petition does not automatically give applicants a permanent resident card.  The applicant still has to file an I-485 adjustment of status which can be done either with the VAWA application or upon approval.

“If you have any immigration matter, SBAGK can guide you through the process. Each case is unique and requires unique attention. We pay attention to the details. That’s precisely why we have a high degree of success in getting our clients’ petitions approved and on with their life as new citizens of this country.” 

Preet Gill is a managing partner at Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov and leads the firm’s Immigration and Estate Litigation Departments. She is highly experienced in all immigration matters and is always eager and prepared to assist and support her clients from the beginning of their matter to the end, working with the SBAGK team to render the best possible results.