What is VAWA?
Abused spouses in general are frightened to report violence. Those who are not citizens of the United States are even more frightened to report violence or abuse to the police or authorities. They fear deportation or incarceration. Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to allow battered and abused spouses or children to self-petition for lawful permanent residency. The VAWA Act allows abused immigrants to file for benefits without the abuser’s knowledge or assistance. You do not need to have a police report to file. The VAWA Act also applies to men.
The definition of abuse is not only defined as physical. It can be emotional and financial as well. If you are feeling unsafe, you should leave the home. If you lack support, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD).
What we do for you
We will facilitate the smooth and correct submission of Form I-360 Self-Petition, the required VAWA form, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. We will assist you in gathering the supporting documentation and required evidence of battery, abuse and extreme cruelty. You will need to provide supporting proof of your relationship to the abuser, undergo a medical exam and provide a background check.
You may need to provide substantiated evidence from a mental health professional to prove emotional abuse. We can help direct you to a local provider.
Approval for VAWA is made only on the information you provide.
Once Form I-360 has been approved you will receive a prima facie determination, meaning that the facts are presumed to be true unless proven otherwise. The prima facie is valid for 150 days and it can be used to receive specific benefits offered to abused spouses and family members. You will also be able to apply for work by submitting form I-765. Once this has been approved any children who have been listed may work as well. If you were married to a US citizen, you will be able to apply for a green card by completing form I-485. If you were married to a legal permanent resident, you will be placed in a deferred status, meaning you cannot be deported and you will need to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in your category. You and the children you listed are still eligible to work even if you are placed in a deferred status.
We are here to assist you
As immigration professionals we will assist you in collecting and submitting all paperwork as quickly and accurately as possible. We have dealt with straightforward situations and situations that are more difficult and nuanced. This is a stressful time; let our offices handle your application with sympathy and efficiency.
We can set your mind further at ease by offering reasonable fees and a convenient payment plan.
Call us for a free consultation: 1-855-855-VAWA (8292).