Violence Against Women Act and Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is considerate of family relationships and provides for individuals to obtain legal status in the U.S. based on their family relationships. Unfortunately, family relationships can be complex and difficult to manage. Family-based visas are driven by the actions of the sponsoring U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR). These individuals must file an application on behalf of their foreign family members. In abusive relationships, U.S. citizens and LPRs can use this privilege to perpetuate their abuse and deny legal status to family members. Recognizing the difficulty that this may cause to victims of abuse, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) amended U.S. immigration laws to account for this. VAWA allows non-citizen family members of abusive U.S. citizens and LPRs to self-petition for legal status without their abuser’s knowledge, consent, or participation in the immigration process. If you are in an abusive relationship and a U.S. citizen or LPR family member has refused to petition for your legal status in the U.S. Janda Law can help you.

  • Our experienced immigration attorneys represent clients in even the most complex immigration cases.
  • We understand the complexities of an abusive family relationship and will put your safety first as we guide you through every stage of the process.
  • At the Janda Law Firm, you are assured of open and sincere communication with your attorney. You will always be in direct contact with your attorney to ask any questions or share any concerns that you may have.

If you are the subject of abuse from a U.S. citizen or LPR who is refusing to take the necessary steps to legalize your stay in the U.S., Janda Law can help you. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers has helped clients like you who thought their situation was hopeless. Call us today at 702-758-8888 to schedule your free consultation.

Who is Eligible for Protection Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?

Victims of domestic violence and abuse are protected under VAWA. Since coming into effect in 1994, other legislation has been enacted to expand the categories of victims who are protected under U.S. immigration law. In 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VAWA 2000) expanded protections for victims of abuse. Some of the benefits under VAWA 2000 include:

  • Removal of certain hardship requirements under VAWA 1994. Under VAWA 2000, for example, self-petitioners no longer have to be married to their abuser at the time of filing their petition. Allowing filing of self-petitions from outside the U.S., and continued eligibility in certain circumstances despite the death of their abuser, termination of the marriage, or loss of the abuser’s U.S. citizenship or LPR status.
  • Allowing self-petitioners to adjust their status in the United States.
  • Allowing certain children to remain eligible for benefits despite turning age 21.

Provisions of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 Technical Amendments (both collectively referred to as VAWA 2005) include:

  • Stronger confidentiality protections for self-petitioners
  • Work authorization to non-citizens with approved self-petitions
  • Removal of the 2-year legal custody and joint residency requirement for abused adopted children
  • Allowing abused children to file a self-petition until age 25 in certain circumstances

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) provides more protections including, exempting self-petitioners from the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This means that they are not denied admission into the U.S. based on the amount of resources they have to take care of themselves.

Contact the Nevada Immigration Lawyers at the Janda Law Firm

If you do not have legal status in the U.S. and you are the parent, spouse, or child of a U.S. citizen or LPR who is abusing you, the experienced Nevada immigration lawyers at Janda Law can help you. Contact us today at 702-758-8888 to schedule your free consultation.