Going Above & Beyond for Our Clients VAWA

VAWA Attorney in Charleston, SC


Certain foreign nationals who are victims of domestic abuse and living in the US may obtain a Green Card under the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA. Victims who were abused by certain US citizens or lawful permanent residents may apply for a Green Card if they qualify, allowing them to escape abuse while remaining lawfully in the US.

What Is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark piece of legislation that protects victims of domestic violence. Despite its name, VAWA is not exclusive to women. In fact, the legislation covers all victims of domestic abuse, including all genders, races, and sexualities.

VAWA also protects immigrants living in the U.S. under an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and those whose entry into the U.S. depends on the assistance of an abusive individual.

The Maghzi Law Firm, LLC believes that immigrants seeking citizenship in the U.S. deserve to have quality legal representation every step of the way. Our founding Attorney, Ameneh Maghzi, is an immigrant and attorney who understands the difficulties you may face when entering the United States. That is why we offer a wide variety of immigration services to meet the unique needs of our clients.

When you need an experienced, multilingual team of legal professionals, do not hesitate to call the Maghzi Law Firm, LLC at (843) 800-2750. We offer services in Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi.

Who is Eligible for VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act was introduced in 1994 and was the first federal bill of its kind to recognize sexual assault and domestic violence as crimes. Combining the power of the federal and state governments, it uses national resources to encourage a grassroots response to domestic violence in communities across the United States.

VAWA is open for reauthorization every five years. The reason why this bill has a five-year lifespan before reauthorization is to give lawmakers the chance to build on the existing foundation and include more people who need protection. For example, the reauthorization signed in 2013 expanded protection to include immigrants, giving abuse victims the right to petition for legal status in the U.S.

The Violence Against Women Act applies to the spouses and children of abusive lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens. In order to qualify for VAWA, the victim must have proof that they entered the marriage in good faith. Petitioners cannot have a criminal record. Under the law, self-petitioners can leave abusive situations without fear of jeopardizing their status in the U.S.

Eligibility Under the Violence Against Women Act

Self-petitioners are required to meet certain conditions to be eligible for status under VAWA. Petitioners are exempt from restrictions to adjust their status, which means that victims can seek safety from an abusive situation without worrying that it may jeopardize their immigrant status in the United States.

You are eligible for VAWA if you have experienced abuse from:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse
  • A U.S. citizen parent
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter
  • A lawful permanent resident parent
  • A lawful permanent resident spouse, or former spouse

Provisions Under VAWA

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) includes several key provisions aimed at addressing and preventing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of gender-based violence. 

Some of the important provisions under VAWA include:

  • Protection for Survivors: VAWA enhances legal protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by expanding access to protective orders, restraining orders, and other civil remedies.
  • Grant Programs: VAWA allocates funding for grant programs that support initiatives such as victim assistance services, transitional housing, legal aid, law enforcement training, and prevention efforts targeting violence against women.
  • Immigrant Survivors: The Act includes provisions to protect immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including the U visa and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition, which offer pathways to lawful immigration status independent of abusers.
  • Tribal Jurisdiction: VAWA recognizes and strengthens tribal jurisdiction over certain domestic violence cases involving non-Native perpetrators on tribal lands, addressing jurisdictional complexities and improving safety for Native American and Alaska Native communities.
  • Criminal Justice Response: VAWA supports the criminal justice system's response to gender-based violence by promoting coordinated community responses, specialized law enforcement units, and improved prosecution of violent crimes.
  • Campus Sexual Violence: VAWA includes provisions related to addressing and preventing sexual violence on college campuses, including requirements for educational institutions to enhance prevention efforts, provide support services, and establish reporting mechanisms.
  • Housing Protections: The Act enhances housing protections for survivors of domestic violence by prohibiting housing discrimination based on a person's status as a survivor and allowing survivors to terminate leases early without penalty.
  • Engagement of Men and Boys: VAWA promotes the engagement of men and boys in preventing violence against women through education, awareness campaigns, and community-based initiatives focused on promoting healthy masculinity and respectful relationships.

These provisions reflect VAWA's comprehensive approach to combating gender-based violence, supporting survivors, and fostering collaborative efforts across multiple sectors to create safer communities. 

VAWA Vs. Adjustment of Status

A VAWA petition and status adjustment are different. To receive a green card as a self-petitioner, the USCIS needs to have already approved your petition or have one pending.

Basic requirements for adjustment of status include the following:

  • You have correctly filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • You are physically present in the U.S. at the time of filing.
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa.
  • None of the restrictions to status modification apply to you.
  • You are admissible.

Petitioning under VAWA and filing a request to adjust your status is complicated. There are many levels of approval to move through and, depending on the severity of your situation, you may need safety sooner rather than later.

That is why you must consult a qualified attorney to help you navigate the immigration process and your VAWA petition.

Hear from Our Clients Testimonials

"Eles sao um grupo com exelentes profissionais, dispostos em atender em varios idiomas,tira qualquer duvida que o cliente tiver. Super recomendo!"

- Reginaldo Rocha

Guidance Throughout Your Case

The immigration process is incredibly complicated, and those who desperately need safety from abuse must take extra steps to move forward. Maghzi Law Firm, LLC has helped clients in Charleston adjust their status, seek asylum, and apply for visas. Founding Attorney Maghzi is an immigrant who is passionate about helping others pursue their American dream by providing guidance backed by her international law and immigration experience.

Contact our Charleston VAWA attorney for compassionate legal counsel and ultimate peace of mind. Call (843) 800-2750 today. We speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi.


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