The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed in 1994. It was created to improve the criminal justice response to victims of domestic and sexual violence. VAWA created the first U.S. federal legislation to acknowledge domestic violence and sexual assault crimes and provide federal resources to combat them. VAWA expired in December of 2018.
On March 10, 2022, the reauthorization of VAWA was passed by Congress as a part of the Omnibus Fiscal 2022 spending package. This bill will reauthorize the program through 2027. You can check out the major provisions of the reauthorization here.
Getting a Green Card under VAWA
According to USCIS, under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
- A U.S. citizen parent;
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter;
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
- An LPR parent.
You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be able to become a lawful permanent resident.
The renewal of VAWA authorizes appropriations of $60 million per fiscal year through 2027 to cover legal assistance for victims of domestic violence; including legal assistance services provided by a licensed attorney, an accredited Board of Immigration Appeals representative, an accredited representative for Veterans’ Administration claims, an attorney or lay advocate in Tribal court, or a person with a demonstrated expertise in providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Please note that Challa Law Group offers immigration legal assistance to survivors of domestic abuse pro bono, meaning without charge.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or inquiries on how we can help.