You may be eligible for relief under VAWA if you are an undocumented individual who has been abused by a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident relative.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to self-petition for immigrant status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) without the involvement of your abuser. You may be granted permanent residence status if your petition is accepted.
Let’s take a look at the requirements for VAWA and find out how an immigration lawyer in Phoenix may be able to help you petition for VAWA to reclaim your independence and safety.
What Is VAWA?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted in 1994. It is designed to provide aid and funding to women who are victims of abuse. One provision of VAWA deals with migrant women and children who are not yet permanent residents or citizens of the United States.
Victims of domestic violence who ordinarily must rely on their abusers to register for status now have a separate pathway to legal immigration status, thanks to VAWA. Abuse victims who are relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can self-petition for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act.
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How does VAWA Help?
Ordinarily, if you are the spouse, child, or parent of a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, your relative resident or citizen must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) on your behalf to obtain legal status in the United States.
Until you receive your own permanent residence, the process is controlled by that relative. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) modified this requirement by permitting victims of abuse in these circumstances to self-petition for legal status without their abuser’s knowledge or consent.
With this relief, you can apply for a Green Card, which would allow you to live and work in the United States permanently. Obtaining permanent residency will allow you to take advantage of numerous advantages, such as access to healthcare, financial aid, and security from deportation.
What Are the Requirements for VAWA Self Petitioning?
Obtaining permanent residency will allow you to take advantage of numerous advantages, such as access to healthcare, financial aid, and security from deportation.
If you meet the following requirements set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may be eligible for relief under VAWA:
Relationships can be established if you are:
- Currently married to, engaged to, or divorced from a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has abused you
- The minor child of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- A parent who has a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen who is abusive, and is at least 21 years old
You might also be eligible if you:
- Have been the victim of significant violence or cruelty from their partner during the course of the relationship
- Are living with or have lived with the other person in the past
It’s possible that you’ll need to meet additional criteria. You can learn more about these requirements and how they pertain to your case from a VAWA immigration attorney in Phoenix, AZ from our firm.
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Will My VAWA Petition Be Confidential?
As the VAWA self-petitioner, you are entitled to special confidentiality protections as specified in 8 U.S.C. section 1367. In accordance with the law, USCIS cannot reject your application based on information obtained from your abuser or any other prohibited source.
Except in extremely rare circumstances, the USCIS will not share any of your personal information with anyone else. For more information, please refer to the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 1, Part A, Chapter 5, Privacy and Confidentiality.
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Can My Children Be Included in My VAWA Petition?
The VAWA self-petition form may allow you to list some relatives as “derivatives.” Children under the age of 21 who are not married may be included in the petition. Your petition may include your minor children who are not married at the time of filing if the abuser is a parent. Your other relatives cannot be considered derivatives if the abuser is your adult child.
Learn More About VAWA from a Phoenix, Arizona VAWA Immigration Attorney
It is a powerless feeling to be in an abusive situation, especially when you feel you are at risk of deportation. The immigration lawyers of New Frontier understand your situation because we have helped countless women in similarly challenging situations in the past.
We do what it takes to help you and your loved ones, including filing an appeal if a visa is denied.
You can learn more about how we may be able to help you during a strategy consultation with us. Please contact us today to begin.