The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a law that was passed in 1994 to, among other things, create a special pathway to lawful immigration status for certain battered non-citizens. Eligible non-citizens who are covered under this law include a spouse, child, or parent of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
At Vestal Immigration Law, we routinely help non-citizens in Davidson and Huntersville who have experienced domestic violence go through a self-petitioning process required to obtain legal status.
The following are common questions we get asked about VAWA and our responses:
A VAWA case involves a Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant filed by a battered non-citizen spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If approved, the non-citizen can be given status as a green card holder. The key in a VAWA petition is that the battered non-citizen spouse or child obtains the green card without the involvement or participation of the abuser.
Yes, U.S. immigration law defines abuse under VAWA in a broad manner, so many different types of abuse can be taken into consideration. One form of abuse that can be straightforward to prove under VAWA are situations involving battery or physical violence.
However, the VAWA law recognizes that those are not the only victims of domestic abuse as envisioned under the law. Rather, one can also be eligible if you are the victim of the following:
Yes, victims of domestic abuse who are the spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident are eligible to apply for VAWA regardless of their gender. This means a man who is a victim of domestic abuse in the hands of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in the qualifying relationship (spouse, child, or parent) can apply for VAWA just the same as a woman in the same abusive relationship can.
No. You are not required at all to remain married to an abuser for the sake of applying and obtaining VAWA approval. If you have already filed for divorce or are in the process of doing so, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced VAWA immigration lawyer to discuss what needs to be done.
Obtaining a green card under U.S. immigration law is not easy to begin with, and is more difficult and doubly complicated when VAWA applies. If you are in the Davidson or Huntersville area and are the victim of abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, contact Vestal Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation.
We are dedicated to helping businesses, individuals, and families navigate the federal immigration system. The more you know, the more empowered you become.
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