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VAWA: Petition for Abused Spouses, Children and Parents

In the family-based immigration process, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents typically need to submit a petition on behalf of their noncitizen family members. Unfortunately, in some cases, petitioners may abuse their nonimmigrant family member or improperly exploit the immigration system by using the threat of withholding or withdrawing the petition as a means to control, manipulate, or intimidate their noncitizen family members.  In response to these concerns, the United States government has implemented various measures to protect survivors and offer them a path to safety and security.  One such measure is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) immigration program.

The heart of the VAWA application process is the self-petition without the knowledge or consent of the abuser.  The VAWA applicants also have the option to include their child(ren) in their self-petition.  The self-petition provides an opportunity for survivors to tell their stories, provide evidence, and request relief under VAWA.  To be eligible for VAWA immigration benefits, the applicants must meet certain criteria.  They have to show that they have been subjected to physical or emotional abuse by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent, they have good moral character during the application process, and they have resided with the abuser at some point. Providing evidence of the qualifying relationship and the abuse suffered is also essential for a successful VAWA petition.

Once VAWA relief is granted, they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives free from abuse.  They have the opportunity to live and work in the United States and can eventually pursue a green card and later, U.S. citizenship if they meet the necessary requirements.

The VAWA application process offers the applicants a path to independence and security.  It is essential for them to understand the eligibility criteria, gather compelling evidence, complete the self-petition accurately, and navigate the process carefully.  A well-prepared application can greatly enhance the chances of a successful outcome.  The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you with your case process or need more information.  Please contact our office at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.