What is VAWA and How Can I Qualify for It?

VAWA Immigration Lawyer Near Me

If you’re an immigrant interested in living in the US, you may have asked the question, “Where is a VAWA immigration lawyer near me?” This is understandable as VAWA gives you the opportunity to get a green card without some of the restrictions you may otherwise face.

Where Can I Find a VAWA Immigration Lawyer Near Me Who Can Help Explain My “VAWA” Rights?

To understand how applying as a VAWA applicant works, you need to understand the reason for VAWA – an acronym that stands for the Violence Against Women Act. 

This legislation includes immigration benefits to eligible parents, spouses, or children. If a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) has abused a child, parent, or spouse who depends on their sponsorship, the applicant has a right for self-petitioning. To do this, they will fill out USCIS Form I-360. By completing the form, they’re applying as a special applicant. 

Keep Everything Confidential

To ensure your safety and security, speak to an immigration attorney in their office. Make sure you don’t use a computer the abuser has used or use a phone plan that is connected with your spouse. Make sure you avoid anything that the perpetrator can deploy to monitor you online or inside the home.


Showing You Meet the Requirements for VAWA Eligibility

To meet the eligibility requirements for a VAWA green card, you must be a child, parent, or spouse of a green card holder or U.S. citizen. You can either be a male or female self-petition, regardless of the legal wording for VAWA

While you cannot hold a temporary visa and apply for a VAWA green card, you may be able to get a work permit. Find out more info by looking at the requirements for USCIS Form I-765V.

The Status of the Abuser

Again, the abuser must have been your petitioner for a green card in the US – a spouse who was already a US citizen or considered a lawful permanent resident (LPR). You can also file a self-petition (I-360) under the VAWA legislation if the abuse you experienced happened before the petitioner received a green card or was naturalized.

If the petitioner loses their citizenship or permanent residency status, you may still apply as a self-petitioner. This must take place within two years the status is removed.

Other Notes about Eligibility

The US issues VAWA green cards to both ex-spouses or abused spouses and children of US citizens and green card holders. Battered parents of children who are US citizens who are at least 21 years of age can apply as well. As a spouse or ex-spouse can also add your children, if they’re under 21 years old, to your application.

Ex-spouses who end their marriage because of the abuse may still file a VAWA green card application within 2 years after the termination of their marriage. If the abuser dies, the petition can still be filed after the date of death within 2 years. As an ex-spouse, you cannot remarry before you receive green card approval. Otherwise, you’ll be denied.

You Must Show Proof of Abuse During the Marriage

To apply for a VAWA card, you’ll need to show proof that the spouse or family member (abuser) battered you or treated you with excessive cruelty. 

Asking the question, “Where is a VAWA immigration lawyer near me?” will be helpful so you can get the evidence needed to support your application. Battery is defined as sexual abuse or physical violence that consists of the following:

  • Emotional harassment
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Threats of deportation or harm
  • Forcible detention

The USCIS considers all the circumstances surrounding the abuse or the severe cruelty you may have experienced.

The Marriage Must Have Been Genuine

Any spouse who applies for a VAWA green card and was abused must have entered their marriage with the abuser in good faith. In other words, their reason for marrying was not to obtain a green card. 

The Self-Petitioner Must LIve in the US (With Some Exceptions to the Rule)

Generally, to apply for VAWA residence status, you need to live in the U.S. However, you may file a self-petition if the abuser is an armed services member or a US government employee. If the  abuse happened in the US, you can also file outside the country.

You Should Have Resided with the Abuser Sometime During the Marriage

To apply for a VAWA card, you do not have to live with the abuser for a certain length of time nor do you presently have to reside with them. You just need to have lived with the abuser at some point in the marriage, even if it was a very short length of time.

You Must Show You Have Good Morals

To qualify for VAWA, you need to demonstrate good moral character for at least the previous three years. You cannot have a drug or drinking addiction, or have a history of criminal activity, including illegal gambling, harassment, or lying under oath.

Finding a VAWA Immigration Lawyer Near Me Who Can Help

Now that you understand the legal requirements better for getting a VAWA green card, you no doubt will want the contact details for finding a VAWA immigration lawyer near me. Discuss your case with a top VAWA legal expert by calling the Rijal Law Firm at  855-997-4525 today.

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