Common Questions Asked in VAWA Cases

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Common Questions Asked in VAWA Cases

VAWA is an acronym for a law known as the Violence Against Women Act, which has been in the books since 1994 when Congress passed it, and the president signed it into law. The law, among other things, created a special pathway to lawful immigration status for victims of domestic abuse who otherwise had to rely on their abusers to sponsor them for a green card. 

By removing the abusers from the green card application process for VAWA victims, the law made it easier for victims of abuse who are close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain a green card status on their own. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, we routinely help victims covered under VAWA living in the Chicago area to apply for and obtain their green cards. 

The following are some of the common questions asked about VAWA:

Who Qualifies for VAWA

To qualify for VAWA green card, you must demonstrate the following:

  • You are the battered spouse of an abuser who is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
  • You are a spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, and your child or children are being abused by your spouse
  • You are a child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder who is being abused or battered by that individual

What Evidence is Necessary to Prove Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is generally associated with physical abuse, but physical abuse need not be proven in a VAWA case. This is because the definitions of abuse under VAWA are quite broad and encompass many different types of abuse. Physical abuse such as battery, punching, pushing, or shoving is often the easiest to prove, but the law recognizes other forms of abuse, such as the following:

  • Intimidation of any kind designed to keep the spouse afraid of the abuser
  • Threats intended to keep the victim silent from reporting the abuse or comply
  • Harassment and degradation of the victim 
  • Social Isolation of the victim
  • Economic abuse such as withholding money needed for basic living expenses)
  • Controlling Behavior
  • Sexual Abuse or Rape

What Forms Do I Need for VAWA Application?

Form I-360, the Self-Petition for Battered Spouse/Child, is typically all that is required for a VAWA case. However, if you also meet the requirements for adjustment of status, you may also need to also file the following forms:

  • I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status
  • G-325A, Biographic Information
  • I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

Do I Need a Lawyer to File My VAWA Case?

Having an experienced VAWA immigration lawyer can help you in making sure you are not wasting your time and money filing the incorrect forms for your individual case. The lawyer will guide you in what needs to be filed and make sure you have filed everything that makes it easy for an immigration officer to approve your case.

If you are a victim of domestic violence by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder relative, contact us today and schedule an appointment for a confidential consultation.