In the United States, the Violence Against Women Act provides much-needed protection for individuals facing abuse or violence. VAWA also creates an alternate route to lawful immigration for qualifying individuals experiencing domestic abuse.
To qualify for VAWA protection, there are certain criteria to meet. Knowing the key qualifications will help you file your VAWA petition accurately.
Eligibility for VAWA protection
VAWA protection is not actually limited to gender. It extends to both women and men. To qualify, an individual must have experienced abuse or cruelty by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent or adult child. This protection is also available for children who have suffered abuse.
Evidence of abuse
Documentation plays a pivotal role in establishing eligibility for VAWA protection. Gathering evidence of the abuse is essential. This may include police reports, medical records or statements from witnesses. A comprehensive collection of evidence will support the request for protection.
Good moral character requirement
Demonstrating good moral character is another notable aspect of qualifying for VAWA protection. This involves maintaining a record of ethical conduct, paying taxes and adhering to the laws of the country. While past mistakes may not automatically disqualify an individual, a consistent display of good moral character strengthens the case for VAWA protection.
Filing the self-petition
To initiate the process of applying for VAWA protection, it is necessary to file a self-petition using the USCIS Form I-360. This form requires comprehensive information about the victim, the relationship with the abuser and the details of the abuse.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approved a total of 6,747 VAWA self-petitions in 2021. This shows that eligible immigrants experiencing abuse in their everyday lives have a very real chance of receiving the protection they need under the Violence Against Women Act.