Immigrant Victims of Abuse and Protection Under VAWA

What Is The Violence Against Women Act?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was established in 1994 to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Although the acronym stands for violence against women, men and children are included in this provision as well. Immigrants who are non-citizens and victims of domestic violence may be eligible to obtain lawful status under this act. Here's what you need to know.

Who Is Eligible for Protection Under VAWA?

The following individuals may be eligible to file for protection under VAWA:

  • Spouse: If you are or were an abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If your child has been abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, you may also file as an abused spouse.
  • Child: If you are a child under 21, unmarried, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent, you may file as an abused child.
  • Parent: If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and your U.S. citizen child has abused you. You may be eligible to file as a child after age 21, but before age 25, if you can prove that the reason you have delayed filing was due to abuse.

Proving Abuse

If you've been a victim of domestic abuse, the good news is that you don't need to provide a police report as evidence. U.S. immigration officials are fully aware that many victims fear contacting the authorities. However, you may be required to prove that the abuse happened in the U.S. and that you cohabitated with your abuser.

If you are an abused spouse, you must prove that you have a bonafide marriage as well as:

  • The abuse occurred during the marriage..
  • The marriage is valid.
  • If divorced, the divorce occurred less than two years before filing under the VAWA.

Contact an Orange County Immigration Attorney

Filing for protection under the VAWA can be a complicated process, and navigating immigration laws can be a daunting task. Having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can increase your chances of getting you the protection that you need.

If you are a non-citizen immigrant who has been been a victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to obtain lawful status under VAWA. Contact Yekrangi & Associates at (949) 478-4963 today to learn your rights.

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