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VAWA allows spouses, childrens and parents victims of domestic abuse to apply for a special visa

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994 to help protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA not only applies to US citizens but also includes special protections for immigrants who were victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other crimes.

Under VAWA protection, immigrant victims can get a special visa that allows them to stay in the United States and cooperate with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute their abuser. If you are an immigrant victim of domestic violence or another crime, you may be eligible for VAWA protection or other special visas designed to help immigrants in vulnerable situations like the U-Visa.

How do I apply for VAWA? Is it safe for victims?

Victims can apply for themselves, without needing to notify their abuser at all. Furthermore, all possible measures are taken from that point on to make sure applicants are protected and their abusers can’t retaliate. Once this protected status is acquired as part of the VAWA immigration process, victims can acquire legal residence independently of the residence status of their spouse.

This is meant to protect victims from abusive households when their legal status relies on their abuser’s residency or citizenship. Don’t be afraid to contact a VAWA immigration lawyer if you are a victim, all exchanges of information are highly confidential and you won’t be deported if you ask for help.

How do I begin the process for applying? Where can I find a good VAWA immigration lawyer?

To begin the process you must first file USCIS form I-360. It is highly recommended to get in contact with a qualified VAWA immigration lawyer in order to navigate the process without making costly mistakes.

However, keep in mind that USCIS will only approve petitions that meet the following requirements:

Spouse eligibility requirements:

  • Being married to an abusive permanent resident or american citizen.
  • Being married but divorced of an abusive partner, or he/she died within 2 years prior to application.
  • Due to domestic violence incident or charges, an abusive spouse lost or gave up their citizenship rights or green card within 2 years prior to application.
  • Being mistakenly legally married to an abusive american citizen that is actually married to someone else.
  • Having suffered from either psychological or physical domestic violence from your spouse.
  • Not having married exclusively to access to immigration benefits.
  • Having lived with your spouse.
  • Having a good moral character.

Parent eligibility requirements:

  • Being the parent of an american resident or citizen who is 21 years old or more. If the son/daughter has passed away, the requestor needs to present the application form before 2 years from their death date.
  • Having suffered domestic abuse or extreme cruelty from your american resident or citizen son/daughter.
  • Living or having lived with the abusive son/daughter.
  • Having a good moral character.
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