What is VAWA?

VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act. The objective of VAWA is to protect and support victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of violence.

The law provides a range of legal protections and resources for victims, regardless of their gender or immigration status. It recognizes that these forms of violence disproportionately affect women and seeks to address the unique challenges faced by victims. VAWA also acknowledges that victims may hesitate to come forward due to fear, cultural barriers, or concerns about their immigration status.

VAWA includes provisions that allow certain victims of domestic violence who are non-U.S. citizens to self-petition for lawful permanent residency without relying on their abusers. This provision aims to empower victims to seek safety and independence without fear of deportation.

Who Qualifies for VAWA?

  1. Battered Spouse or Partner: A person who is or was married to or in a legitimate or bona fide marriage or partnership with an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This includes both women and men.
  1. Battered Child: A child who is the child of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This applies to children under the age of 21, unmarried children over 21 but under 25 who can demonstrate they have been continuously residing in the United States since before turning 21, and children of any age who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves due to the abuse.
  1. Battered Parent: A parent who is the parent of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This includes parents who have been subjected to extreme cruelty by their adult U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children.

It's important to note that VAWA protections are not limited to victims who identify as women. The law recognizes that individuals of any gender can be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and extends its protections accordingly.

To benefit from VAWA protections, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements and go through the appropriate application process, which typically involves submitting a self-petition and providing evidence of the abuse they have experienced. Each case is evaluated individually, and it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or a qualified organization that specializes in assisting VAWA applicants for guidance on the process and eligibility criteria.

If you believe you qualify for VAWA, please call us at (212)571-6002. We will help you.

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