Making VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Work For You

The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was established to protect noncitizens who are trapped in an abusive relationship with a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident.

The purpose of the law is to fix a problem that sometimes happens in our marriage-based immigration system. People come to the U.S. and feel forced to remain with an abusive spouse or family member in order to obtain a green card. The victims' desire for a better life allows the abusive family member to control them by violence and coercion.

When you petition for VAWA, you may be issued a work permit while your petition is evaluated, which may take 90 days. As with all immigration matters, the law is complex, with many ramifications. Our lawyer can walk you through this process, as it applies to your case.

How To Petition Under VAWA

To invoke VAWA with the USCIS, your petition must show that:

  • The person abusing you is (or was) a green card holder or U.S. citizen.
  • You are (or were) legally married to the abuser, and lived with that person.
  • The abuser battered you or subjected you to extreme cruelty.
  • Your marriage was genuine, and not entered into just for immigration benefits. Evidence of marriage fraud will kill your chances of qualifying under VAWA.
  • You are judged to be a person of good moral character.

We can work with you to draft an affidavit describing the abuse you have suffered, documenting the course of your relationship with the abusing partner, and demonstrating you have a good moral character and a good history as an immigrant to the U.S.

VAWA Is Not Just For Women

Yes, the Violence Against Women Act also assists men trapped in abusive relationships. But you will need to show the same conditions as women applicants — meaning you must be married.

We at Harrison-Donaldson, Attorney at Law, in Dallas, Texas, want you to be safe. That is the most important consideration! Before you go to work on your affidavit, get relief from the abuse you have been receiving. If you are unsure who to turn to, call our office at 972-746-2314, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

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