What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that was sign by President Bill Clinton in 1994. This act provided billions towards the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Although, VAWA stands for Violence Against Women, men and children are included within this act as well. With that in mind, immigrants who are non-citizens and victims of violent crimes could be eligible to obtain lawful status under this act.
Who is Eligible for Protection Under VAWA?
Spouse: If you are or were an abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Also, if your child has been abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, you can file as an abused spouse.
Child: If you are a child under 21, unmarried, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent.
Parent: If you are the parent of a U.S citizen or permanent resident child and they have abused you.
What are the Requirements for VAWA?
Unlike a U-Visa application, you do not need a police report as evidence to prove you have been a victim of domestic abuse for VAWA. Plus, U.S. immigration officials are aware that many victims do not come forward about their abuse due to fear. So, in this case the only requirement for proving your abuse is one to prove that it happened in the United States. Second, you must prove that the abuse occurred during your marriage. Third, the marriage must be valid for the self-petition to go through. Last, if you are the abused spouse and have obtained a divorce it must have occurred less than two years before filing under VAWA.
How Can Mil Mujeres Legal Services Help You?
Mil Mujeres Legal Services is a non-profit organization that provides legal services to those who have been a victim of violence that occurred in the United States. They also provide legal services for anyone who is petitioning for immigration status like VAWA. Mil Mujeres Legal Services fully supports VAWA and with their help you can expect a successful application process for VAWA if you meet the requirements.