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How VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Affects Citizenship

By Glendale Personal Injury Attorney on July 25, 2023

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The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a critical piece of legislation that has transformed the lives of countless immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse. VAWA offers important protections and avenues for vulnerable individuals, allowing them to seek justice and safety without fear of deportation. VAWA ensures that no one is forced to stay in harmful situations due to their immigration status.

Understanding VAWA and Its Provisions

VAWA is a law with special rules to help abused spouses, children, or parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. One important rule lets victims apply for legal status themselves, or “self-petitioning.” This means they don’t need the abuser’s help to stay in the U.S. legally. There are also special visas, like the U visa and T visa, for victims of certain crimes. These visas can protect them from deportation and even lead to citizenship.

The U and T Visas

The U visa and T visa are special types of permission to stay in the U.S. These are given to people who have been victims of certain serious crimes. The U visa is for victims who help law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the crime. The T visa is for those who have been trafficked, meaning they were brought to the U.S. against their will. Both visas offer protection from being sent back to their home country and can be a step towards becoming a U.S. citizen. These visas are designed to help these victims feel safe and supported.

VAWA and Adjusting to Lawful Permanent Resident Status

Under VAWA, victims can apply to become lawful permanent residents, often known as getting a green card. This process involves filling out forms and providing documents and evidence to prove they meet the requirements.

The documents needed for VAWA to become a lawful permanent resident, or get a green card, usually include forms filled out with personal details. This could be things like your name, birthdate, and immigration history. You also need evidence to show you meet the requirements. This might be police reports or court records to prove abuse, proof of your relationship to the abuser (like a marriage certificate), and proof that you have lived with them. It’s important these documents are accurate and complete to help your application succeed.

Some people may first get “conditional” resident status, which lasts for two years. After this period, they can apply to have these conditions removed and become full permanent residents. This is a way for victims to secure a safer, more stable future in the U.S.

VAWA’s Impact on Naturalization and Citizenship

VAWA can help victims of abuse on their journey to becoming U.S. citizens, a process called naturalization. For those applying through VAWA, there might be some special rules or exceptions during this process that can make things easier. However, they still need to prove they are of “good moral character,”  which means they have behaved well and followed the law. Having accurate records and documents from their time in the U.S. is important for these purposes. These records can help show the authorities would make good U.S. citizens.

Other Considerations and Benefits under VAWA

Apart from legal status, VAWA also offers victims other benefits like the right to work in the U.S. and access to certain public benefits. It also has rules to keep their information private for safety. Immigration lawyers can play a vital role in this process. They help victims understand the process, correctly fill out forms, and ensure their rights are protected. VAWA is not just about legal status; it’s about helping victims rebuild their lives in a safe and secure environment.

VAWA can Aid Immigrants

VAWA significantly aids eligible immigrants in California on their path to citizenship. It provides a route to legal status, eases naturalization, and offers additional benefits like work authorization. With privacy protections and legal guidance, VAWA helps victims navigate this journey securely and with dignity.

Contact Aratta Law Firm for Help

VAWA significantly impacts the citizenship journey for eligible immigrants. If you believe you are eligible for protection under VAWA, reach out to a Glendale immigration lawyer at Aratta Law Firm at (818) 550-1111 for support and legal guidance.

Posted in: Immigration