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Category Archives: USCIS District Office Chicago

Are Divorce Decrees required for VAWA Cases?

Recently the above issue was addressed by the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, the issue is whether a VAWA applicant who was approved as a self-petitioner and is now filing an adjustment of status petition is required to have obtained a divorce from the abuser, before the adjustment of status petition can be approved by USCIS. In other words, if the applicant has obtained VAWA status (under Violence Against Women Act) and filed a petition based on the abuse he or she suffered at the hands of a U.S. citizen abuser, does that applicant have to divorce the abuser to qualify for a green card?

The clear answer provided by the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois is that a divorce decree is NOT required. In fact, in some VAWA cases the applicant still lives with the abuser and remains eligible for VAWA status. At the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois, an Officer had requested a divorce decree, and if none could be provided, then the applicant was told that he or she needed to obtain a divroce before the adjustment of status could be approved.

The above issue was addressed at the liaison meeting, and the conclusion was that the above Officer would review the case again since a divorce decree is NOT needed before the case can be approved. Also, while the above issue was discussed for the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois, the general policy indicated above should be correct for all USCIS District Offices.