VAWA is the acronym for the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed by Congress in 1994. Among other things, VAWA created special provisions in United States immigration law to protect battered noncitizens. These provisions were updated in 2000 by the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act.
Every now and then a foreign national will marry a US citizen or Lawful permanent Resident in good faith, only to find out they have married an abusive person. Or maybe, they suffered abuse at the hands of their US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parent. These foreign nationals feel trapped in a terrible relationship they cannot quit because they have no immigration status. The special provisions that VAWA created under United States immigration law may help you obtain Lawful Permanent Residence. Under VAWA, battered non-citizens who are married to, or recently divorced from US Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents can, in certain circumstances, self-petition (without the help or knowledge of their abusive spouse) to obtain Lawful Permanent Residence or to remove the condition on their 2-year Conditional Permanent Residence cards. If you have never been married to your abuser, or if your abuser is not a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, then you most likely do not qualify to self-petition for Lawful Permanent Residence under VAWA.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has played a vital role in profoundly affecting the lives of these victims. The purpose of VAWA is to help liberate victims from a perpetual cycle of abuse and guide them towards a new beginning in a lawful status and, eventually, towards citizenship in the United States.
At the Law Office of Ruby L. Powers and associates we take a personal stake in helping these victims free themselves from their abusive relationships and gain a valid immigration status.