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VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, was passed by the United States Congress in 1994 with the intention of protecting women (including immigrants and nonimmigrant residents) from mental, physical, verbal, and/or emotional abuse committed by United States citizens or Lawful Permanent Resident spouses or parents. Under this act, an immigrant can self-petition for a Green card application, provided that they can prove the abuse by an immediate family member in one of the categories listed. Men may also apply for a Green Card under this act if their circumstances qualify.
Who is Eligible for VAWA?
VAWA Green Cards are meant for battered spouses and children of US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. Former spouses are also eligible, thereby resolving any requirement to be in a current relationship with the abuser in order to qualify. However, the petition must be filed within two years of the marriage ending or the abusive partner passing away.
<In order to qualify for this protective status, there must be substantial cruelty or oppression, which can be in the form of physical, sexual, verbal, mental, emotional, or financial abuse. Infidelity and the use of threats directed at a person’s immigration status may qualify under this standard, depending on the context. Ultimately the burden of proof in the VAWA application lies with the applicant, and any such claim must be supported through valid documentary evidence, such as a sworn declaration from the victim, sworn affidavits submitted by witnesses and persons with firsthand knowledge of the situation, police reports, hospital records, mental health evaluations, etc.
The petitioner must be able to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for the sole purpose of accruing an immigration benefit. It is generally necessary to establish a common residence with the abuser, at least for some duration of the relationship.
ProcessIfAn immigration attorney at Rijal Law firm can help assess a person’s eligibility for VAWA protection. If this is deemed to be an appropriate remedy, we will help prepare a strong application with relevant documents, starting with Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
VAWA applicants are usually eligible to file a concurrent Adjustment of Status application (I-485), allowing them to obtain a Work Authorization and legal status in the United States until their application is approved. Contact Rijal Law firm today today and get more information about filing a concurrent Adjustment of Status application with your VAWA application.
Vawa Applicants will be called to appear for an interview by USCIS, where the interviewing officers assess the credibility of abuse claims, before ruling on the petition.
Documentation RequiredVAWA is a complex application and requires extensive supporting documents depending on your eligibility and circumstances. These documents may include:
A sworn statement by you, stating that the marriage was entered in good faith and detailed description of abuse faced
Documents verifying that you are a person of good moral character, often obtained from local police, school, community members, places of worship, NGOs, etc.
Evidence to support Abuse which may consist of statements from friends and family, police reports, medical documents, psychiatric evaluations, and any such similar document.
Attorneys at Rijal Law firm work with you closely throughout the entire process, providing guidance in evidence collection and helping you present your VAWA application in the strongest possible light. Call Rijal Law firm if you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic abuse and book your confidential consultation with our expert attorneys.