On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC on Monday, March 25, 2013.
To protect victims of domestic abuse and other serious crimes, Congress created the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) petition and the U-visa. These petitions give important immigration benefits to victims of crimes.
What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? Typically, when a non-citizen (undocumented immigrant or visa immigrant) marries a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, the U.S. citizen can often petition for the non-citizen for lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This is a common way for non-citizens to receive permanent legal status, and even citizenship, in the United States. However, problems arise when the U.S. citizen spouse uses the immigration benefit as a form of control. The U.S. citizen spouse may even threaten not to petition for the non-citizen if she leaves or goes to the police. Congress found this abuse to be unacceptable and initiated VAWA.
VAWA is a federal law that allows victims (including men and women) of domestic abuse to apply for lawful permanent residence status without the help of the U.S. spouse. VAWA even allows immigrants who entered the United States without inspection to apply for lawful permanent residence status, an important benefit for many undocumented immigrants.
Requirements to apply for VAWA
Have questions or think you may qualify for a VAWA self-petition? Contact us today. Do not apply for a VAWA petition without the help of an immigration lawyer.
What is a U-Visa?In many ways, the U-visa is more broad than VAWA. The U-Visa protects not only victims of domestic abuse, but victims of other criminal activity as well. Congress understands that undocumented immigrants are afraid to contact law enforcement about crimes because of their unlawful immigration status. This fear makes immigrants extremely vulnerable to abuse, violence, blackmail, and other crimes. The U-visa was created to encourage victims to assist with law enforcement and the prosecution of criminal cases by giving victims immigration benefits. These benefits protect the victims and encourage them to help with the investigation and prosecution of the crimes.
If your a victim of a qualifying crime and assisted law enforcement, then you may be eligible for a U-visa. Additionally, once approved of the U-Visa, you become eligible to receive lawful permanent resident status after three years.
What is a Qualifying Crime to apply for the U-Visa?The qualifying crimes include, but are not limited to:
Requirements for U-Visa