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Who can benefit from a VAWA visa?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Immigration

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that allows certain noncitizens who are victims of domestic violence, battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member to self-petition for lawful status in the United States without the abuser’s knowledge or consent.

Despite its name, the VAWA visa is not gender-specific and can benefit individuals of any gender who meet the eligibility criteria. You may qualify for VAWA if your circumstances fall into any of the following categories.

Spouse of a U.S citizen

If you are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and have experienced battery or extreme cruelty by your spouse, you may qualify to self-petition for a VAWA visa. This provision allows you to seek lawful status independently, thereby protecting you from further abuse and enabling you to secure your safety and well-being. Your eligibility is based on proving the abusive relationship, your good moral character and that you entered the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.

Child of U.S citizen

If you are a victim of abuse by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, you may qualify to self-petition for a VAWA visa. This provision is available to unmarried children under the age of 21 who have experienced battery or extreme cruelty by their parents. To qualify, you must demonstrate the abusive relationship, your good moral character and that you meet the eligibility criteria for age and marital status.

Parent of U.S citizen

As a parent, you may qualify for a VAWA visa if you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years old. You may also qualify if your child was abused by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, and you are included as a derivative beneficiary on your child’s VAWA petition.

If you are considering filing a VAWA visa, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance to help ensure you meet all eligibility criteria and receive proper support throughout the self-petitioning process.