Crafting Strategies To Protect Your Future

Do you qualify for adjustment under VAWA?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Immigration |

Domestic violence and psychological abuse are more common than many people realize. In fact, studies suggest that 33% of women and nearly 25% of men have been subjected to some form of physical violence at their hand of their partner. This can leave victims in a scary position where they know that they need to leave their abuser, but they’re afraid of how they can make it on their own if they do so.

This feeling of hopelessness can be amplified for immigrants. These individuals are often scared of losing their immigration status if they leave their spouse or partner, meaning that they could be removed from the United States altogether. Fortunately, though, there are federal protections for immigrants who find themselves in this position.

How the Violence Against Women Act may help you

The Violence Against Women Act, often referred to as VAWA, is a federal law that allows noncitizens to seek an adjustment of their immigration status based on their abuser’s status. VAWA allows these victims to do so without involving the abuser in the process like they would otherwise have to. If successful in seeking protection through VAWA, a victim of abuse can obtain lawful permanent resident status.

Who can apply for VAWA protection?

There are two categories of people who can apply for protection under this law. The first are those whose abuser is a U.S. citizen. In many instances, the abuser will be the victim’s spouse, but that’s not always the case. Under the law, you can seek VAWA protection if your abuser is your parent or child, too.

The second category is those who have been abused by a lawful permanent resident. The difference here is that the waiting period for approval may be a bit longer depending on the applicable priority date.

How do you apply for VAWA protection?

Through VAWA, you can self-petition for an adjustment of immigration status. This means that you simply have to fill out an application, demonstrate that you’re admissible under current immigration laws, and show that your current status demonstrates that a visa is available based on your relationship to your abuser or your priority date.

VAWA also extends a number of waivers to those who would otherwise be deemed inadmissible. For example, the public charge denial ground doesn’t apply to VAWA petitioners, and those seeking relief under this federal law are also obtain a waiver for some criminal-based denials. So, even if you’re worried about your background and how it may affect your immigration status, not all hope is lost. Just keep in mind that in order to utilize some of these exemptions and waivers you’re going to have to present evidence that the applicable law would cause you some sort of hardship or that your actions were the result of the abuse to which you were subjected.

Seek the legal guidance that you need to protect yourself and your immigration status

Immigration laws are confusing. Yet, it’s important that you understand them and know how to navigate them. If you don’t, then you could be missing out on opportunities to improve your immigration status and protect your interests. In fact, not knowing how to use the law to your advantage could leave you stuck in an abusive relationship or facing deportation.

Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, consider working closely with a skilled legal professional who can help you build the strategy that you need to protect yourself and your future.