Benefits of The VAWA: What Is The Spouse Immigrant Visa?
If you have suffered from a form of battery or domestic abuse, the VAWA is a beneficial resource that can help you seek refuge. The immigration process in the United States can be extensive, but the Spouse Immigrant Visa prioritizes citizenship opportunities for victims of extreme cruelty. This article will provide a clear breakdown of everything you need to know about the VAWA, including benefits, the application process, and more.
What Is The VAWA Visa Program?
The VAWA, or Violence Against Women Act, is a law initially passed in 1994 under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The law provides protection and benefits for victims of domestic violence. One of the primary aspects of the VAWA is the ability to obtain a spouse immigrant visa.
The spouse immigrant visa allows victims of domestic violence to self-petition for a green card without having an abuser’s participation. This can be incredibly helpful for both men and women seeking immigration relief in the United States. This program creates opportunities for individuals to become lawful permanent residents in the United States.
Eligible applications are victims of domestic abuse, cruelty, or battery at the hands of the following:
- US parent or permanent resident;
- US son or daughter;
- US spouse, former spouse, or permanent resident.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a term that embodies many different types of abuse within the following areas: physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. Unfortunately, domestic abuse cases go unreported daily, and many victims suffer in silence. If you are dealing, or have dealt, with domestic violence, you may be eligible for the VAWA visa. This allows you to start a new life in the United States and find refuge from your abuser.
Many domestic violence victims are afraid to speak up because they fear their abuser will find out, hurt them, or harm those they love. The VAWA program was created to protect both men and women from abuse without putting them in a high-risk scenario with their abuser.
Benefits of the VAWA Visa
There are many benefits to the VAWA Visa that provide victims the freedom, solace, and shelter they deserve. If your VAWA self-petition is approved, you will receive lawful permanent residents, employment authorization, and public benefits. After a few years of being a Green Card holder, you may have the opportunity to become a United States citizen. VAWA Visa holders will be able to start a new life in the United States without ever involving their abuser in the immigration process.
VAWA Visa Requirements
- Being a victim of domestic abuse by a US citizen or resident
- File Form I-485; this is the application to register for permanent residence or adjustment of your immigration status.
- Be present in the United States when you file Form I-485.
- No adjustment veto occurs during the process.
- Eligibility for an immigrant visa.
- When you file Form I-485, an immigrant visa is available to you while the USCIS finalizes your eligibility.
- You are admissible for a US Green Card.
There are some other scenarios where you may be eligible for an immigrant visa; this includes approval of Form I-360, and the petition for Amerasian, Widow, or Special Immigrant. If you have an approved self-petition filed with Form 1-485 or a previous self-petition awaiting approval, this can also be considered.
Typically, if you violate immigration law to enter the US, you will lose the right to adjust your status. However, for a VAWA self-petitioner, this is an exception.
How To Apply For a VAWA Visa:
The first thing you’ll need to do is file Form I-485 and apply for a Green Card. In order to do this, submit an I-360 form to qualify. If you are immediately eligible for a visa, you won’t have to wait for approval of the I-360 form. If you are filing as an immediate relative, visas are always available to you, so apply anytime. However, if you are filing under the family-based preference category, there may be delays in visa availability.
How Do I Improve My Application for a VAWA Visa?
If you are applying for a VAWA visa, it can be a long process until approval is complete. Keep track of all documents you may have that prove you are a victim of domestic violence and abide by visa requirements. If you provide more detail, you have a better chance of expediting the process and getting approved for immigration.
Gather all physical evidence you have that proves the abuse. If you have access to photographs or reports, this can help your case drastically. The next step is showing the immigration team that you are of good moral character and have a clean criminal background. A thorough psychological report can support your standing as an individual and the impact of abuse on a deeper level.
Take your time acquiring all necessary information and working with a professional lawyer and psychological report writer. If you have a strong team on your side, you can rest easy knowing that your case is being taken care of effectively.
What is a Psychological Report, and Why is it Beneficial?
A psychological report is a written document created and signed by a professional psychologist. In the legal field, these reports benefit your case and provide expert credibility to your application. Your report will include a detailed evaluation of your mental health standing, emotional traumas, and moral wellbeing spanning across your lifetime. Additionally, it will contain any results from performed tests, questions, or analyses during your session.
Many domestic violence victims worry about being silenced or having their stories regarded as hearsay. A psychological report substantiates your case and adds an extra layer of evidence to your application.
If you are considering a VAWA visa, a psychological report should be a top priority. Depending on your unique situation and domestic abuse experience, these reports can be catered to best suit your needs. The evaluation will first take place and then be translated into a concise report that can be shared with the immigration team.
Immigration-related psychological reports prove that you are eligible to become a lawful resident and share helpful information about your personal experiences. When you migrate to the US, your team is better capable of meeting your needs and providing you the support you deserve.
A psychological report is not something to be afraid of, especially not if you are a victim of domestic violence. It’s a necessity according to immigration law and helps prove the eligibility of your case.
Can I Work In The United States With The VAWA Visa?
After self-petitioning, the USCIS can issue approval of a legal work permit, also known as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This allows you the freedom to work and make money as a United States resident. If you are the victim of abuse at the hands of a spouse, child, or parent, you may be able to expedite the work permit process. After being approved for the EAD, you can legally work under United States law.
Does VAWA Offer Confidentiality Protection?
Immigration law does not allow your application decision to be influenced by information from your abuser. Your private data won’t be exposed or shared with anyone unless it’s legally beneficial to your case. Be aware that residential address changes can only be made in person to abide by the confidentiality protection clause.
What Forms of Violence Qualify For The VAWA Visa?
Domestic abuse can occur in various forms that differ for each situation, individual, and relationship. Thankfully immigration law lists a variety of potential violent acts that meet the requirements of the VAWA Visa. If you are suffering from abuse in any form, reach out to someone immediately and explore your options. Violent acts can include the following:
- Labor abuses.
- Social isolation.
- Sexual or psychological abuse.
- Abuses related to immigration status.
- Physical, sexual, or workplace harassment.
- Extreme cruelty.
- Physical damage.
- Mental damage
- Labor or sexual exploitation.
What is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?
There are some extreme circumstances where individuals can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to qualify for the VAWA visa for other crimes like moral corruption, criminal convictions, narcotics trafficking, and prostitution. Applicants should prove that they are in decent moral standing, but you will not have to advocate for the severe consequences that could occur if your application is denied.
How Long Does the VAWA Process Take?
The timeline can change depending on how many applicants there are and the details of your personal application. On average, the VAWA visa process can take anywhere from 16 to 21 months.
Do I Need To Provide Evidence of Domestic Abuse?
You will not be obligated to provide any personal evidence displaying your abuse, but it can always help verify your case. Suppose you have medical records, police records, photographs, statements from friends or relatives, letters from a medical professional, protection order, or any similar evidence. However, it could be helpful to share this information if you feel comfortable. If you are an abuse victim, don’t let a lack of evidence discourage you from applying and seeking the refuge you deserve.
What If I’m Not Eligible for a VAWA Visa?
If you are a domestic violence victim who isn’t eligible for the VAWA Visa, you have other options. For example, T visas and U visas are programs that protect victims of human trafficking and crimes. Consult with a lawyer or legal professional to find the best resources for your unique case.
Consult With A Professional Psychological Report Writer Today
If you are considering applying for the VAWA visa and need a psychological report written, contact Claudia Ribas LCSW today. Claudia has over 20 years of experience writing psychological reports for immigration and is ready to work on your case. She has the professional expertise to guide you through the process and increase your chances of getting approved for the VAWA visa. Prove your eligibility today and start working towards the life you deserve.
Contact Claudia Ribas at (914) 261-0596.