VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)

According to UN Women the United Nations’ entity dedicated to gender equity and the empowerment of women it is estimated that over one-third of women worldwide have experienced either sexual violence or physical violence, either by a partner or non-partner, at some point in their lives. Shockingly, it is also estimated that 137 women per day across the world are killed by a member of their own family.

Violence against women is a global problem, and one that should not go unaddressed. For women who are non-U.S. citizens/foreign nationals, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protection. If you have questions about the VAWA and how to immigrate to or remain in the United States under the act, please reach out to our attorneys at the Illinois Immigration Law Group today.

Who Is Protected Under the VAWA?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), those who can become lawful green card holders permanent residents–under the VAWA include those victims of battery or cruelty committed by:

  • A parent who is a lawful permanent resident;
  • A spouse or former spouse who is a lawful permanent resident;
  • A son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen;
  • A parent who is a U.S. citizen; or
  • A spouse or former spouse who is a U.S. citizen.

Those who meet these criteria can file a self-petition under VAWA.

Visas for Victims of Violence

In addition to helping a victim of violence obtain permanent resident without the knowledge or consent of their abuser, there are also two different visa types available under the VAWA:

  • U Visas. A U visa can be used to provide a foreign national with temporary legal status, including the ability to lawfully work temporary status for qualifying family members of the victim, such as children and the possibility of permanent resident status. In order to be eligible for a U visa, a person must be a victim of a crime and be willing to assist in an investigation or prosecution related to the criminal offense. Types of crimes that are relevant to U visas include trafficking, rape, torture, female genital mutilation, murder, and more.
  • T Visas. T visas are designed for victims of severe forms of human trafficking and grant temporary immigration status for up to four years. Severe forms of human trafficking include both sex and labor trafficking.

Get Help with Your Immigration Case Today

If you are the victim of violence or the victim of a crime and you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be able to find safety and relief in the United States by seeking legal status. Under the VAWA, you can seek permanent resident status if you are the victim of violence committed by someone to whom you’re related and who is a citizen or legal resident themselves; you can also obtain the right to live and work in the United States by pursuing a U or T visa, depending on your situation.

At the Illinois Immigration Law Group, we understand how serious violence against women is, and want to provide you with the support you need to acquire legal status and protection in our country. To learn more about how we can help you, please call us directly at (847) 495-2223 or send us a message at your convenience.


The Illinois Immigration Law Group

    1990 E. Algonquin Rd., Suite 180 Schaumburg, IL 60173
    (847) 495-2223