Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, with reauthorizations following in 2000 and 2012, giving even more protections to victims of domestic violence. In 2013, the Senate extended this bill to include same sex couples. This law recognized that undocumented aliens were often trapped inside abusive relationships because seeking help against their abusers meant exposing their lack of legal status in the U.S. Now victims of domestic violence can “self-petition” for temporary status in the United States, without relying on a family member to petition for them. You may be eligible to file an application if you are undocumented and a:
If the person who abused you renounced U.S. citizenship or lost LPR status, you may still be eligible to file, depending on the circumstances and the amount of time that has elapsed.
Although the law that protects battered immigrants is titled “The Violence Against Women Act,” it is actually gender neutral, so males can receive protection under this law. A successful VAWA petition can lead to permanent residency, with all its benefits:
Undocumented aliens who are trapped in abusive relationships should take advantage of VAWA, but only with the supervision of a knowledgeable immigration attorney. At Bretz & Coven, LLP, you’ll find skilled and concerned attorneys who want to see you get the protection you deserve. Call us today at 212-267-2555 or contact us online to schedule a confidential appointment.