VAWA allows battered immigrants to petition for legal status in the United States.
Congress enacted the immigration provisions within VAWA after recognizing that an immigrant victim of domestic violence is more likely to remain in an abusive relationship because her or his immigration status is tied to the abuser. Non-citizen victims are often threatened with deportation and may be too afraid to ask for help.
VAWA provides a way for non-citizen victims of domestic violence to apply for legal immigration status without the knowledge or assistance of the abusers.
Who is eligible to apply for relief under VAWA
- Abused spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders)
- Non-abused spouses of U.S. citizens or LPRs (green card holders) whose children were or are abused
- Abused children of U.S. citizens or LPRs
- Abused “intended spouses” of U.S. citizens or LPRs who are not legally married solely due to the abuser’s bigamy
- Abused parents of U.S. citizens (abused parents of LPRs do not qualify under VAWA)
What is domestic violence?
Domestic Violence can be described as violent or aggressive behavior within a home, typically involving a spouse or other family member.
Abusers often engage in behaviors that frighten, intimidate, blame, terrorize, humiliate, hurt, wound, and/or physically injure another person. Abuse may include physical harm, psychological and emotional manipulation, forced sexual relations, isolation, intimidation, and threats related to economic security or immigration status.
The U nonimmigrant visa is available to victims of serious crimes who cooperate with authorities investigating or prosecuting criminal activity.
Requirements to qualify
- You are a non-citizen who suffered substantial mental or physical harm as a crime victim;
- You possess credible information about the crime that occurred;
- You have helped, are helping, or will help law enforcement; and
- The qualifying crime violates U.S. federal or state law.
- Domestic violence
- Being held hostage
- Abusive sexual contact
- Unlawful criminal restraint
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
- Forced prostitution
- Obstruction of justice
- Sexual exploitation
- Witness tampering
- Female genital mutilation
- Felonious assault
The T Visa protects victims of human trafficking and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.
Congress created the T Visa classification to help protect victims of human trafficking and stop the continuation of human trafficking. The T Visa helps law enforcement agencies investigating and prosecuting human traffickers by allowing non-citizen trafficking victims to stay in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities.
Requirements to qualify
- You are the victim of a severe form of human trafficking;
- You are physically present in the United States because of human trafficking;
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States; and
- At least one of the following applies:
- You comply with any reasonable requests for help with trafficking investigations;
- You are under 18 years old; or
- You are unable to assist law enforcement due to trauma caused by the trafficking.