Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Representing victims break free from abuse

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1994. One section of this legislation, which provides many different protections for domestic violence victims and amended a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide immigration relief for victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse.
  • A U.S. citizen parent.
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter.
  • An LPR parent.

A victim of violence may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without the abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. If your self-petition is approved and you meet all eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident. To qualify for a self-petition under the VAWA the Applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • The Applicant must be in a good faith marriage.
  • The Applicant must been a victim of domestic abuse or another form of extreme cruelty by their spouse.
  • The Applicant must meet all other requirement necessary for permanent residence.

If you submit your petition and meet all requirements, you will receive a Prima Facie Determination Notice. This Determination Notice is valid for 150 days, allowing the victim access to public benefits at government agencies as a victim of domestic violence. If you are approved for your I-360 form you will also be eligible to work in the United States, by filing an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).

USCIS provides VAWA Applicants confidentiality protections and is prohibited from denying your application based on information provided solely by your victim’s abuser. USCIS is also prohibited from disclosing any information about the victim to third parties, except in certain very limited circumstances.

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Change of Address for VAWA Applicants

To further protect VAWA Applicants USCIS will not accept requests for Change of Address submitted online, mailed to USCIS Lockbox facilities, or by telephonic requests at the National Benefits Center if you apply for adjustment as a VAWA self-petitioner. USCIS provides a specific address for victims to change their address

Do men Qualify for VAWA?

Yes! Despite the name Violence against women Act, the Act is gender neutral and men are also a protected and can apply for relief under the Act as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. If you believe that you have been the victim of domestic violence contact our compassionate immigration Attorney at Lewis Law, P.A. Our Attorney have extensive experience handling VAWA Applications. To talk to one of our Attorney please call 954-530-1717.

National Domestic Violence Hotline If you are in an abusive relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to find information about shelters in your area and other types of assistance that may be available.