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.
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
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.
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.
- Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing for Family Members?
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.
Given the amount of skill and experience this team has, we pledge to leave no stone unturned and going above and beyond to provide the best immigration services tailored to your needs.
With a large team on hand and English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi language-speaking services available, we aim to provide all the resources you need to make the immigration process easier.
As an immigrant herself, founding attorney Ameneh Maghzi understands the difficulties of immigration and she has made it her mission to make the process as smooth as possible for her clients.
With our sole focus on immigration law, our firm is well equipped to handle a wide range of immigration services.