Cambiando Vidas y
Creando oportunidades
Contact US
TO SCHEDULE YOUR Consultation Today

    Nationwide VAWA Lawyers

    Providing Protection to Victims of Domestic Abuse

    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for immigrant men and women who may be facing abuse or domestic violence. The act allows noncitizens to obtain immigration relief separate from their spouse or abuser through the act of self-petitioning. Under normal circumstances, victims would have to rely on their abusers to file for status for them. Victims of violent crimes, elder abuse, sexual abuse, and human trafficking can also take advantage of the provisions in this act, provided they qualify. Those who file a VAWA application can also get assistance with legal services, prevention programming, housing, and economic justice.

    The eligibility requirements for VAWA applications are strict and, in some cases, can be confusing. Like all immigration matters, it is essential to fill out your application thoroughly and without mistakes to prevent delays in the process. If you would like to become a lawful permanent resident and are a victim of domestic violence or abuse, our team at Elizabeth Rosario Law, PLC. can help. We have years of experience helping clients escape physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and more. If you need a VAWA immigration attorney, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact our office today by calling 616-530-0101.

    What is a Self-Petition?

    A self-petition is a petition you can use to file for lawful immigration status without relying on a sponsor. In most cases, victims would have to rely on their abusive partners or relatives to file a petition for them. Under U.S. law, spouses and children of lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens must rely on those individuals to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The relative who files controls the process until you get lawful permanent resident status, also called a green card.

    By filing a self-petition, victims can get legal status on their own. VAWA protection gives victims a chance to gain legal status without the control or even the participation of their abuser, whether it’s a spouse, parent, other relative, or anyone else. You can also file a self-petition if you are divorced as long as your marriage to the abusive spouse was terminated within two years of filing. To file a self-petition, you must meet the eligibility requirements listed below.

    Who is Eligible for a VAWA Self-Petition?

    VAWA self-petitions can be life-changing for those who are eligible. To file a self-petition, you must meet the eligibility requirements.

    Below are the criteria you must meet for a VAWA petition:

    • You are, or you were married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is or was abusive
    • You are, or you were the child or step-child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and you are not yet 25
    • You are a noncitizen parent of an abused noncitizen child, even if you yourself are not abused
    • You are a noncitizen spouse whose children are abused by the other child’s U.S. citizen or LPR parent

    To meet the requirements above, you must prove that your relationship is or was abusive. Statements from law enforcement officers and other evidence can help prove that you are eligible for a VAWA application.

    You must also prove the following:

    • Your relationship with the abuser
    • The immigration status of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse
    • Good faith marriage, if the abuser is a spouse or step-parent
    • That you have good moral character
    • That you lived with the abusive family member
    • Parent-child relationship, if applicable

    Proving that you are eligible for a self-petition can be difficult, and many people find it hard to gather evidence while also juggling their immigration status. If you need assistance or have questions about your eligibility, contact our office today.

    How Do I File a VAWA Self-Petition?

    Filing a self-petition is much easier with help from an experienced legal team. Reach out to our office for assistance with the process. Once you have made contact with us, we will help you fill out Form I-360, a form that can be used to apply for many different kinds of status. You must also fill out and file additional documents with other information.

    For a VAWA petition, you must also include a personal statement, telling your story in your own words. Your personal statement will be used to convince the USCIS that you need a self-petition to get out of an abusive or unsafe situation. Use this statement to explain your story and any other relevant evidence to support your eligibility for a self-petition.

    Mental health professionals and domestic violence advocates can also work with you to provide personal statements as proof. Medical and legal documents can also be very valuable in proving your eligibility. Once you have gathered all your evidence, you can submit your application to the USCIS and wait for a response.

    Can an Attorney Help Me?

    For individuals in an abusive situation, receiving a VAWA green card is often the best way to change their circumstances and obtain lawful permanent residence. Like most immigration matters, filing a VAWA application can be confusing and requires many documents and a lot of personal information. Our team understands just how important it is for victims to receive immigration benefits from VAWA, and we are dedicated to helping you receive those benefits.

    At Elizabeth Rosario Law, PLC., our team has years of experience helping men, women, and children escape abusive situations and change their immigration statuses. Even if you are not yet a U.S. citizen, you have rights that are protected under the law. We are confident we can help you file a VAWA application and become a VAWA self-petitioner. For more information and to learn about our services, call our office today at 616-530-0101