Violence Against Women Act


                VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act and protects immigrant men and women. VAWA was first introduced into the law in 1994, providing noncitizens the ability to receive immigration relief without their spouse if they are a victim of domestic violence. This process is called self-petitioning. In 2000, the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act was passed, which created new methods of relief for noncitizens who are victim to violent crimes, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Finally, in 2005, the Violence Against Women Act was amended and reauthorized, which expanded the initial mandate to address not only domestic violence, but sexual assault and stalking as well, and specifically took into account the needs of underserved populations. 


                The Violence Against Women Act allows noncitizens who are victims of domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse to self-petition so that they may become a permanent resident in the United States. In a self-petition, the original petitioner and abuser is not necessary in forwarding the case. You are also able to self-petition if you are divorced. Once your VAWA petition is approved, you will receive work authorization which will allow you to legally work in the U.S. Additionally, once your VAWA is approved, you will be able to apply for permanent residence in the U.S.

Who Can Self-Petition & Proving Abuse

                VAWA self-petitions are available to people in a variety of situations.  VAWA is an option for a child, parent, or spouse of an abusive legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Spouses who are divorced are also eligible for VAWA if the grounds of their divorce were abuse related and the application was filed within two years of the marriage ending. Children can also self-petition. If the child is abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, they can self-petition before they are twenty-five years old. Additionally, a parent who is a noncitizen can self-petition if their noncitizen child faced abuse. See here for VAWA FAQ’s.

                To prove that you were abused, the circumstances may vary depending on your situation. If the U.S. citizen abuser was a spouse, or stepparent, there needs to be proof of a good faith marriage. That means that the spouses did not enter a fraudulent marriage, but rather a Bona fide marriage. See here for further information regarding VAWA eligibility.

At The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC, our lawyer has years of experience helping clients overcome a wide range of legal barriers. With our attorney by your side, you can navigate this process with efficiency and confidence.

Request your initial consultation by calling 1 (917) 338-7678 or sending us an online message today.