The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994 to help protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA applies not only to U.S. citizens, but also includes special protections for immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other criminal acts. Under VAWA protection, victims of  VAWA immigration can obtain special visas that allow them to remain in the United States and cooperate with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute their abusers. If you are an immigrant victim of domestic violence or other crimes, you may be eligible for VAWA protection or another special visa designed to help immigrants in vulnerable situations, such as a U visa.

If you are an immigrant victim of domestic violence or other crimes, you may be eligible for VAWA protection or another special visa designed to help immigrants in vulnerable situations, such as a U visa.


Who can apply?

From time to time, foreigners marry U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents in good faith, only to find out that they are married to their abuser. Or, they have been abused by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent. These foreigners feel trapped in a bad relationship they can’t get out of because they don’t have immigration status. VAWA has special provisions under U.S. immigration law that can help you obtain legal permanent residency. Under VAWA, battered noncitizens who are married to or have recently divorced a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may, in certain circumstances, self-petition (with the help or knowledge of their abusive spouse) The conditions on their 2-year conditional permanent residence card to obtain lawful permanent residence or deport them. If you have never been married to the abuser, or if the abuser is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, then you are most likely ineligible to apply for lawful permanent residence on your own under VAWA.


How do I apply for VAWA? Is the victim safe?

Victims can apply on their own and do not need to notify the abuser at all. In addition, from then on, we will take all possible steps to ensure that applicants are protected from abusers from retaliation. Once this protected status is obtained as part of the VAWA immigration process, victims can obtain legal residency independently of their spouse’s residency status.

This is to protect victims from abusive families, as their legal status depends on the abuser’s residence or citizenship. If you are a victim, don’t be afraid to contact a VAWA immigration attorney, all exchanges of information are highly confidential and you will not be deported if you seek help.


Relief under VAWA

You can file Form I-360, a Petition for Amerasians, Widows(er), or Special Immigrants, without the knowledge or consent of the family member who is abusing you. You will be referred to as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-application meets the eligibility requirements and is approved, you will usually be allowed to apply for a green card. This is called a “status adjustment”.

If you are an abusive spouse whose marriage to a citizen or green card holder ended within the past two years, you can still self-apply. However, you must prove that your previous marriage was legal and that there was a link between your marriage termination and abuse or extreme cruelty.


How to Qualify for Immigrant Assistance under VAWA

Generally, self-applicants and beneficiaries under VAWA will not be subject to any injunction to adjust the statement. However, you must be allowed to enter the United States to be eligible for a green card.

There are various grounds for inadmissibility under immigration law, all of which apply to these situations except for entry into the country without inspection and as a public charge.

In the case of a self-applying spouse, the application requirements typically include:

have good moral character

Married to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident

marriage is made in good faith

During the marriage, as an immigrant spouse, you (or your children) were assaulted or severely abused by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse (or parent)

You are currently or in the past living with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse

You can apply for specific waivers or other immigration remedies even if you do not meet one or more of the grounds for inadmissibility.


How long does it take for VAWA to be approved?

Your VAWA self-petition can take 16 to 21 months to process from the moment you file your Form I-360. USCIS will then issue a Notice of Preliminary Determination to VAWA petitioners who are eligible and meet all requirements. If you receive such a notification, keep in mind that it will last for 150 days.

After you have confirmed that you are eligible to submit evidence in support of the VAWA Self-Complaint, you may consider preparing for the process. You will be notified after submitting the I-360 Self-Application. If USCIS determines that you do not qualify as a spouse, parent, minor, or unmarried child of a U.S. citizen, you will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny. Having said that, USCIS will write you the reason why you are not eligible. t Eligible for a green card.

Instead, if USCIS approves your VAWA application, you will be advised to begin the process of preparing yourself. The next step is to fill out Form I-485. If the abuser has U.S. citizenship (lawful permanent residence includes those who are allowed to live in the U.S. indefinitely), you will be eligible to apply for a green card or have lawful permanent residence; if the abuser is not a U.S. citizen, you will have to wait Visas are available. If you are an abused spouse or abused child and cannot contact your abusive parent, it is best to consult a lawyer. At Micheal & Murray, we have handled several immigration, VAWA application-related cases, and cases of people committing visa fraud.


VAWA Key Immigration Requirements

To be approved for a green card, a person must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Properly file and file Form I-485;
  • Be present in person when filing Form I-485;
  • be eligible for an immigrant visa;
  • Deserves the discretion of USCIS.

The entire process of filling out the VAWA form may seem complicated and time-consuming. Since you will need to submit many pages and documents to the USCIS form, the assistance of an attorney may improve your chances of a successful legal outcome. You can check our website and call us at (512) 215-4407 for direct assistance with these jobs.


Who is eligible for an immigration waiver through VAWA?

To qualify for an immigrant waiver, you need to file Form I-601. However, approval will only be granted if you are an applicant for a visa or a K or V visa and you are found inadmissible. It takes 4 to 6 months to process the I-601 petition.

Prove your VAWA case

You must provide as much evidence as possible that you have been abused by a U.S. citizen/LPR, or that you have been assaulted or extremely abused by a lawful permanent resident while you were married. Here’s what you need to document on your VAWA Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) application based on your marriage to an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident:

  • your written personal statement;
  • A record showing that you are a person of integrity;
  • a copy of your birth certificate or passport;
  • Proof that the abuser is a US citizen or green card holder;
  • Evidence that you are the abuser’s spouse or child (unmarried or under the age of 21);
  • Proof that you live with the abuser;
  • Evidence that you have been abused;
  • Proof that you currently live in the United States.

Find a VAWA lawyer

As an immigrant dealing with the difficulties and uncertainties of past or present abuse, finding an abogado de inmigracion will only make your life easier.


VAWA Domestic Violence Immigration

It is important to know that although the law is called the Violence Against Women Act, it applies to all genders. Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of VAWA is that it allows you to apply for adjustment of status regardless of whether you entered the United States illegally or legally.

Domestic Violence Immigrant Consequences

In some cases, victims of domestic violence themselves have been unfairly arrested for domestic violence. According to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), even a single domestic violence conviction can deport a noncitizen from the United States under Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Aside from deportation, any other form of immigration that these noncitizens apply for in the future will be denied.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, we can help! Please check our website to learn more about VAWA, filing petitions, and how an immigration attorney can help. Stop the abuse now!

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