VAWA Visas — Providing Protection for Immigrant Women

VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act and it was created in the 1990s to protect women that are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, abuse, or other forms of harm. The Act was far-reaching and created several programs that educate and train law enforcement and other authorities on gender-based violence. The VAWA self-petition is for abused spouses, parents, and children of U.S citizens or permanent residents. If you have uncertain immigration status, this might make you vulnerable to domestic abuse or other types of intimidation. The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC is here to help you secure your immigration status so that you can live without fear.

Eligibility Requirements

There is no limit or cap on VAWA self-petitions or visas the way there is with the U Visas. VAWA, however, does require applicants to show that they are of “good moral character.” The VAWA visa includes Form I-360 and shows that you meet the other requirements. The visa for the Violence Against Women Act is a way for battered and abused spouses or children to apply for resident status without the help of the relative who is abusing them. Men and women may both self-petition and may qualify if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Your spouse is a U.S citizen or legal permanent resident and he/she abused you. 
  • Your parent or stepparent is a U.S citizen or legal permanent resident and he/she abused you. 
  • Your adult child is a U.S citizen and he/she battered or abused you. 

When applying as a battered or abused spouse, the requirements are a little different and require you:

  • To have been married to a U.S citizen or legal permanent resident
  • To have lived with your spouse at some point
  • If a divorce has been finalized, you must show a connection between the divorce and stated abuse
  • The marriage must have entered into in good faith

Required Evidence for Application Documents

In order to apply for a VAWA visa, you must be eligible and you must also provide ample and satisfactory documentation and evidence. These documents include:

  • A personally written declaration that describes the relationship and the nature of the abuse
  • Any police records or formal records of the abuse
  • Evidence or support that shows your good moral character 
  • Copy of your passport or birth certificate 
  • Proof showing you live in the United States
  • Passport-style photos 

Benefits of VAWA Housing

The law has also extended protections for VAWA self-petitioner to include housing. The updated law has increased the protections for sufferers of domestic abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse. 

How Long Does Approval Take?

VAWA processing may vary on a case-by-case basis, but it seems to be slightly faster than a U Visa. In 2020, the processing time for the VAWA self-petition was about two years. 

Issues Facing VAWA Reauthorization

The Violence Against Women Act must be reauthorized by Congress on a regular basis. Because of this, some of the provisions and requirements can change and have often confused applicants. Contact an experienced immigration attorney to find out whether you qualify for this visa or whether you should apply for a U Visa instead.  

Contact Us For More VAWA Information

If you think you may qualify for the VAWA protection, call The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC today. As a trusted immigration attorney, we are on your side. We are passionate about helping you obtain legal status and get protected.