Los Angeles VAWA Attorney and Advocate
You are not alone. If you have been, or are currently a victim of spousal violence or domestic abuse please look to our resource page to find additional assistance. Know that abusers may often use immigration status as another tool of abuse. The last thing you want as a victim of abuse is to have to worry about your immigration status. We at Path to Immigration are committed advocates for victims of abuse. Therefore, we have made a commitment that despite the process being more complex than a conventional Green Card process, to charge the same low fee. We will work with you on your path to immigration so you can build a new life in the U.S. and have a fresh start.
What is VAWA?
In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which created paths to immigration status for specific, battered non-citizens. A battered non-citizen spouse or child of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident is eligible for this immigration route. Through a self-petitioning process, the battered spouse/child may apply for immigration status without the knowledge or participation of the abuser. Derivative status is an available option to certain children and parents of the principal immigrant.
Extensive evidence must be gathered and includes evidence of abuse/battery/extreme cruelty and proof of the qualifying relationship to the abuser. Battered immigrants who can establish said requirements will be given a “prima facie” determination of eligibility for certain accompanying public benefits.
In most cases if the VAWA petition is approved, the immigrant is granted deferred action status. Deferred action means that removal, or deportation, proceedings will not be initiated. Applicants are also eligible for work authorization upon approval of their VAWA petition.
Once the VAWA petition has been approved, immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system:
- Self-petitioners who are immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (spouses, parents, unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident status upon approval of their VAWA petition.
- Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents must wait for an immigrant visa to become available within their category. Such petitioners will be able to obtain work authorization as they await eligibility to apply for permanent residency.
Children and battered spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are the subjects of deportation proceedings may also be eligible under this form of relief through VAWA cancellation of removal.