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Memorandum: Eligibility to Self-Petition as a Battered Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Within Two Years of Divorce

September 30, 2010

U.S. Citiaenship and Immigration Services

The attached memorandum describes a change to the VAWA self-petitioning provisions made by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) that preserves selfpetitioning eligibility for former spouses of abusive U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents if the marriage was legally terminated during the two-year period immediately preceding the filing of the self-petition. If the self-petitioner can demonstrate that the divorce from the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is connected to the battering or extreme mental cruelty and the self-petitioner files his/her self-petition within two years of the divorce, that self-petition should not be denied on the grounds that a legal marriage no longer exists.

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