VAWA Visas for victims of domestic violence in USA

CONTACTThe Violence Against Women Act or VAWA was passed by Congress to help undocumented victims of domestic violence, to file an immigrant visa petition.

Battered spouses of US citizens and legal permanent residents can apply and can include their unmarried children under the age of 21 as well the parents of U.S. citizens, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

Before filing any application with USCIS or other government agencies you should consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney, authorized to practice immigration law throughout Texas, that can assure your case is handled correctly.

Certain eligibility requirements do exist. In the case of a spouse, they must be legally married. A self-petition may be filed if the marriage was terminated within two years prior to the filing. The spouse must have been battered in the United States, unless the abuser worked for the U.S. government abroad or was in the uniformed services and must have entered into the marriage in good faith.

The requirements for a child to self-petition as son or daughter of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are for the child to be unmarried and under the age of 21. Children of that marriage who may not have been abused may also be included on the petition as derivative beneficiaries.

A VAWA petition is filed on Form I-360 and there are specific requirements that have to been proven in order for USCIS to approve a VAWA petition. If the petition is approved by USCIS, the battered spouse, child or parent may then apply for permanent residence. This procedure requires extensive documentation based on a medical and criminal history of the applicant, to determine if and when they can apply for permanent residency.

Immigration advice is available in many places, but this advice is not always reliable. Speaking with an experienced and skilled immigration attorney in the first step when dealing with any immigration issue.