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The Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (or “VAWA”) is a law enacted to provide federal grants and programs to help prevent domestic violence, and offer protection those who individuals who suffer from family abuse. VAWA allows victims of domestic violence who are in the U.S. based on a petition by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) family member – such as a spouse – to independently apply for lawful permanent residence.

Victims of domestic violence or abuse from a U.S. citizen or LPR immediate family member are eligible to file a VAWA petition. Such individuals eligible for VAWA relief include: The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR. While an individual is not required to be currently married in order to file under VAWA, a VAWA petition must typically be filed within 2 years of the execution of a divorce. Where the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR is not the actual victim of domestic violence or abuse, but his/her child has been abused, the spouse may still apply under VAWA. One important feature of a VAWA petition is that applicants may self-petition for immigration benefits, which means that the applicant can apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge.

Male applicants and children may also apply under VAWA to petition for lawful permanent residence, despite the fact that VAWA refers specifically to women.

The VAWA application process is typically more complicated than simply filling out a form. The experienced attorneys at Gavlin & Associates, P.C. will help you navigate this difficult process, and help you achieve success in obtaining freedom from a potentially dangerous and unpleasant personal situation. Contact our compassionate attorneys and staff today for a consultation to see if you qualify to file a VAWA petition.

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