VAWA Violence Against Women Act Lawyer
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers a beacon of hope for individuals suffering from abuse. As a critical provision, VAWA allows certain immigrants, including spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, to self-petition for legal status in the United States, bypassing the abuser. At Wogwu Law, we provide empathetic and discreet assistance to those seeking freedom and safety through VAWA.
Eligibility for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an essential aspect for individuals seeking relief from abuse and obtaining legal status in the United States. Here's a breakdown of the general eligibility criteria for VAWA:
- Relationship to the Abuser: VAWA primarily covers individuals who have been victims of abuse by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). Eligible individuals typically include:
- Spouses: You may apply if you are, or were, married to a U.S. citizen or LPR abuser. This also includes individuals who believed they were legally married to their abuser, but the marriage was not legitimate due to the abuser's fraud.
- Children: Unmarried individuals under 21 years old who a U.S. citizen or LPR parent has abused can apply. In some cases, the age limit can be extended to 25 if the abuse is the reason for the delay in filing.
- Parents: If you are the parent of a child whom your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse has abused, or if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen and have been used by your U.S. citizen child, you may be eligible.
- Evidence of Abuse: Applicants must provide proof of having been subjected to extreme cruelty or battery. This can include physical violence, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial control, isolation, intimidation, or other forms of mistreatment.
- Residence with the Abuser: In many cases, you must have resided with the abuser at some point. This is not a strict requirement, especially in cases where living with the abuser would have been unsafe, but it's a common aspect of many applications.
Abuser’s Citizenship or Residency Status: The abuser must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. If the abuser loses their citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to an incident related to domestic violence, you may still qualify.
Legal Protection and Safety
- Legal Protection for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence: One of the primary purposes of VAWA is to offer protection to immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, mainly when their immigration status in the United States is dependent on their relationship with the abuser. This situation often creates a power imbalance, where the abuser may use their control over the victim's immigration status as a means of manipulation and coercion. VAWA intervenes in this scenario by providing a legal pathway for these victims to obtain independent immigration status, separate from their abuser.
- Establishing a Safe Address: When applying for benefits under VAWA, victims can provide a “safe address.” This address is used for all correspondence related to their application and is not disclosed to the abuser. The use of a safe address is vital as it helps to protect the applicant from further harm or interference by the abuser, especially in situations where any form of contact can lead to escalation of abuse or retaliation.
- Confidentiality and Independence in Self-Petitioning: VAWA allows victims to self-petition for legal status in the U.S. without the knowledge or involvement of their abuser. This aspect of the law is critical because it maintains the confidentiality of the application process. The abuser is not notified about the victim’s application, which helps protect the victim from potential backlash or retaliatory actions.
The VAWA Application Process
Applying for relief under VAWA involves preparing and submitting Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Our team assists in gathering the necessary documentation, such as evidence of the relationship and abuse while ensuring your safety and privacy throughout the process.
Impact of VAWA on Your Immigration Status
Approval of a VAWA petition can lead to lawful permanent residency (Green Card). We guide you through subsequent steps, including adjustment of status and, eventually, applying for citizenship. Our support continues beyond the approval of your VAWA petition, ensuring you have the legal guidance needed for a secure future in the U.S.
What Makes Wogwu Law Different in VAWA Cases?
At Wogwu Law, we understand the sensitivity surrounding VAWA cases. Our approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about providing a supportive and safe environment for our clients. We handle each case with discretion, empathy, and a deep commitment to helping you start a new life free from abuse.
Secure Your Safety and Future with Wogwu Law
If you or someone you know is facing abuse and needs legal status in the U.S., please reach out to us. Contact Wogwu Law today at 919-964-5472 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with a dedicated immigration lawyer. We are here to help you go through the VAWA process with compassion and experience.
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