The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is law since 1994. It allows noncitizens who have been abused by a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative to get a Green Card without the abuser’s knowledge, approval, or participation. This gives victims opportunities to escape abusers and locate safe housing.
Spouses, minor children, and parents of 21-year-old U.S. Citizens can file self-petitions with USCIS. Self-petitioning VAWA recipients can apply for a Green Card if USCIS approves their VAWA petition.
This list gives some examples of situations that may be covered by VAWA, but it does not include every situation that could be covered by VAWA:
- Physical abuse, with or without weapons or instruments. Violent threats could also be considered physical abuse.
- Abuse also includes harming, harassing, or threatening the applicant’s children, family, friend, and any other type of relationship.
- Public humiliation. Causing fear in the applicant to comply with the abuser’s demands.
- Economic abuse can be defined by being refused access to any money, being chastised for it, or not being allowed to find a job.
- Stalking and being privately invaded without any space for yourself.
- Social isolation – not being allowed to socialize through any medium, or even have freedom to leave the house or create relationships through faith, school, work, etc.).
- Forced sexual behavior, including threats or unwelcome sexual conduct. They are both battery and cruelty.
- Manipulation through the applicant’s illegal immigrant status.
- Verbal abuse, including yelling of profanities and threats.
To be clear, VAWA is not just for women, but for anyone who has suffered harassment and violence from a resident or citizen relative. It’s also important to remember that medical and police reports, as well as photographic proof of the abuse help prove the case, are very important to show elegibility for VAWAs. Even threatening to call immigration authorities to deport the applicant, are considered violent acts.
Turn the negative into a positive and call us if you want an assessment of your case and to know if you qualify for a VAWA. Book your appointment online or contact us at 469-708-5800.