Giselle M. Rodriguez is a Boston immigration lawyer in Jamaica Plain who helps clients with the full range of immigration challenges, including VAWA. She is bilingual (English & Spanish). Contact Giselle for a free consultation today, or read on to learn more.
The Violence Against Women Act was established by congress in 1994 in an attempt to address concerns regarding violence against women.
You might be thinking to yourself – How do I qualify for the protections afforded by VAWA? Begin by thinking about who the abuser is and whether the abuser is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen parent, spouse, or child over 21 years of age. In addition, if you have a child and the child is being abused by the child’s lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen parent you may also have a claim under VAWA.
To qualify for VAWA you must establish the following:
- Marriage to the abuser and the abuser is a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen:
- Something important to mention under this requirement is that if the claimant “believed” that he or she was legally married to the abuser he or she may still have a claim under VAWA
- Claimant entered into the marriage in good-faith
- Claimant has good moral character
- Claimant was subject to extreme cruelty and/or battery by the abuser
- Or your child was subject to such abuse
- Claimant has lived with the abuser
In addition to being married to a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen abuser, a claimant may qualify for the VAWA protections if he or she is a child who has been subject to extreme cruelty and/or battery by a parent who is a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen, or if you are the parent of a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years of age.
Often, the first step of applying for the protections afforded under VAWA require that the claimant submit form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant with the department of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The I-360 coupled with the following evidence is what should be submitted:
- Evidence that claimant lived with abuser
- Evidence of abuser’s U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence status
- Evidence that claimant is the spouse, parent, or child of the abuser
- Evidence of claimant’s good moral character
- Evidence of abuse
Most USCIS forms require a fee but the I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant does not.
If you have a VAWA-related immigration challenge and you are located in the Boston area, contact Giselle M. Rodriguez today to discuss your situation.