What is VAWA?
Q. What is VAWA?
A. VAWA, which stands for Violence Against Women Act, is a relatively new law which allows abused spouses or children of United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents to self-petition for permanent residence in the United States, receive employment authorization, and become United States citizens in the future.
Do I need a lawyer to file a VAWA self-petition?
Q. Do I need a lawyer to file a VAWA self-petition?
A. No, legal representation is not required. However, having competent legal representation will help you avoid major pitfalls and mistakes that may cause you delays and problems in the process. An experienced attorney can also help you plan and prepare your case so that you will have a greater likelihood of success.
How can I apply under VAWA?
Q. How can I apply under VAWA?
A. The attorneys at SilzerLaw can guide you and represent you in this process. If you have any questions, you may call SilzerLaw’s associate attorney, Camila Pachon, and schedule a consultation to see Mr. Silzer.
Why was VAWA passed?
Q.Why was VAWA passed?
A. VAWA was passed to provide domestic violence survivors with the means to escape the cycle of violence, preventing their immigration status from becoming another method of control for the abuser. VAWA is also another tool domestic violence survivors can use in establishing safe and independent lives.
What are the requirements to qualify under VAWA?
Q.What are the requirements to qualify under VAWA?
You must be married to a United States citizen or permanent resident. You may also qualify if your husband has been deported because of the abuse.
You must have entered the marriage in good faith, not to obtain immigration benefits.
Your spouse must have abused you or your child during the marriage.
You must have lived with your spouse at some point. Regardless of whether it was inside or outside the United States.
You must be a person of good moral character.
I divorced my spouse, may I still apply?
Q. I divorced my spouse, may I still apply?
A. Yes. A VAWA self-petitioner has 2 years from the date divorce judgment is entered to file a VAWA self-petition.
Is VAWA only for women?
Q. Is VAWA only for women?
A. No. Abused men, women and children qualify.
Does the abuse have to be physical?
Q. Does the abuse have to be physical?
A. No. To qualify under VAWA you must have been abused or subject to extreme cruelty. Abuse can be mental, psychological, physical, or a combination of all the above.
Can a person in deportation proceedings apply for VAWA?
Q. Can a person in deportation proceedings apply for VAWA?
A. Yes. A person in deportation proceedings may apply for VAWA cancellation of removal.
I am a victim of domestic violence but my spouse is not a permanent resident or United States citizen. Do I still qualify?
Q. I am a victim of domestic violence but my spouse is not a permanent resident or United States citizen. Do I still qualify?
A. No, you do not qualify under VAWA. However, as an immigrant victim of a crime, there are other forms of relief you may qualify for such as the U visa. Please give us a call to schedule a consultation for your particular case.
How much does it cost to apply?
Q. How much does it cost to apply?
A. The United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services, commonly known as USCIS, does not charge a filing fee for a VAWA self- petition. However, you will incur attorney’s fees and cost of gathering evidence, for example, obtaining a background check.