Visas and green cards for victims of family violence

visas and green cards for victims of family violence

If you’ve ever worked with or read about the Violence Against Women Act, you may be aware that the statute contains immigration relief for certain individuals. But VAWA is so much more powerful you might think.

I often meet undocumented immigrants who have been told that it’s impossible for them to ever get their papers in the United States. For many of them, that’s simply not true, and the VAWA visa is a powerful tool they can use to get legal status and change their lives.  

The VAWA visa offers a work permit and provides a path to residency and citizenship for (1) anyone married to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or (2) anyone with a U.S. citizen child who is 21 or older who lives at home.  If there is any emotional tension, financial control, or physical abuse in the relationship between the Citizen/Resident and their spouse or parent, the undocumnted individual could be eligible for a VAWA visa.  

The VAWA visa becomes a path to legalization that empowers the non-citizen spouse or parent to leave the damaging relationship if they so choose. It’s an amazing tool and absolutely changes lives. If you know anyone who might be eligible, send them my way. I’d love to help. 

Myths About VAWA:

  • It’s only for women
  • It’s only for people married to U.S. citizens
  • Physical violence is required
  • You must file a police report
  • You must divorce your spouse
  • You have to have a legal entry to be eligible
  • You have to leave the U.S. to get the visa

Facts About VAWA:

  • Men and Women are eligible for VAWA
  • Same-sex partners qualify for VAWA if they are legally married
  • Spouses of both U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible
  • Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible
  • Physical violence is not required

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