Violence Against Women Act - Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was created by Congress to help noncitizen foreign nationals who have suffered abuse at the hands of a spouse or parent who is either a US citizen or a legal permanent resident. The battered or abused spouse or child can self-petition for immigration status without having to involve the abuser in the process. If you have been the victim of domestic abuse and believe you may qualify to self-petition under VAWA, call the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates for a consultation.Who is eligible to self-petition under VAWA?
You must be the spouse or child of a US citizen or legal permanent resident. If you are the child of an abusive citizen or legal permanent resident you must file before reaching the age of 21 or before reaching the age of 25 if you can show that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in applying. You may also apply if you are the parent of an abused child who is under 21, even though you did not experience any abuse yourself. Additionally, if you are applying as the abused spouse of a US citizen or legal permanent resident, your children under 21 years of age may also be included in your petition even if they were not abused or are not related to your abuser.What proof do I need in order to self-petition under VAWA?
If you are an abused spouse of a US citizen or legal permanent resident you must prove that you are currently married to the abuser and that the marriage was entered into in good faith. This means that the marriage was not fraudulent or entered into solely to gain immigration benefits. A good faith marriage can be shown by providing pictures throughout your relationship, affidavits from those who knew you as a couple, and evidence of comingling funds such as a joint bank account. If you have divorced your abuser you may still apply within two years of the termination of the marriage if the marriage was terminated because of the abuse.
If you are a spouse or child, you must prove your relationship with your abuser and show that you resided with the abusive family member. Evidence must also be gathered that shows proof of battery, abuse, or extreme cruelty. It is not necessary to have filed a police report of the abuse.
In order to be eligible, you must be a person of good moral character. Good moral character can be shown by conducting a background check and proving a clean criminal record. Affidavits from friends, family members, and employers can also be used to show good moral character.
If you have been a victim of physical abuse at the hands of your US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent, call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. The attorney’s at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are experienced in defending the rights of foreign nationals in all areas of immigration. Spanish speaking attorneys are also available.