VAWA: Who can apply?

VAWA: Who can apply?

Are you or someone you know a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking? If so, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) may be able to provide much-needed support and protection. But who exactly is eligible to apply for VAWA benefits? In this blog post, we’ll break down the criteria and requirements for applying under VAWA so you can better understand your options. Read on to learn more about how VAWA can help those in need.

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Understanding the Purpose of VAWA

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed by Congress in 1994, with the goal of protecting and supporting victims of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence. It has been reauthorized several times since then, most recently in 2019, with amendments to expand its protections to more marginalized groups.

One of the main purposes of VAWA is to provide resources and support for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. This includes funding for shelters and services such as counseling, legal assistance, and emergency housing. These services are crucial for survivors who may have no other means of escaping a dangerous situation or seeking justice.

We recommend you to see this article: The Benefits Of A VAWA Application

Who is Eligible to Apply for VAWA?

The short answer is any immigrant who has been a victim of domestic violence or other qualifying crime committed by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. However, there are some specific requirements that must be met in order to qualify for VAWA benefits.

Firstly, an individual must be able to prove that they are currently living in the United States and have a valid relationship with their abusive spouse or parent. This can include being married at some point (even if currently divorced), having a child together, or cohabitating as a couple. It is important to note that VAWA also covers same-sex relationships.

Secondly, the abuse suffered by the applicant must meet certain criteria outlined by VAWA. This includes physical violence or threats of physical violence, extreme emotional abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, and/or forceful detention against one’s will. It is crucial to gather evidence such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, photographs/video/audio recordings of injuries or incidents when applying under VAWA.

Thirdly, applicants must demonstrate good moral character within the past three years before submitting their application. This means having no criminal convictions (excluding minor traffic offenses) and having paid taxes if required by law.

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Requirements for Applying for VAWA

To qualify for VAWA protection and benefits, there are certain requirements that applicants must meet. These requirements include:

1. Being in a qualifying relationship: To apply for VAWA protection, the victim must demonstrate that they are in a qualifying relationship with the abuser. This can include being married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, being the child of an abusive parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or being in a dating relationship with an abuser who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

2. Proving abuse: The applicant must provide evidence that they have been subjected to physical, emotional, psychological, and/or sexual abuse by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.

3. Good moral character: The victim must also show that they have good moral character to be eligible for VAWA benefits. This means having no criminal record and showing that they are not a threat to public safety.

4. Residence in the United States: The victim must currently reside in the United States at the time of filing their application under VAWA.

5. Filing within 2 years of termination of marriage: If applying based on marriage to an abusive spouse, the victim must file their petition within 2 years from the date of divorce (or annulment) from their abusive spouse.

6 . Filing within 2 years after death: If applying based on marriage to an abusive spouse who has died within two years prior to filing the petition, the victim must file within 2 years after the death of their abusive spouse.

We recommend you to see this article: Green Card? You Can Get It With A T Visa, U Visa Or VAWA.

What Happens After You Apply for VAWA?

The process can be lengthy and may require patience, but it is important to understand what happens after you apply for VAWA.

1. Receipt of Application: Once you submit your application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will receive a receipt notice in the mail. This notice confirms that USCIS has received your application and provides you with a receipt number which can be used to track the status of your case.

2. Biometrics Appointment: Within 3-5 weeks of receiving your receipt notice, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment at your local USCIS office. During this appointment, USCIS will collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature for identification purposes.

3. Request for Evidence (RFE): If USCIS requires additional information or documentation to make a decision on your case, they will send you an RFE letter outlining what is needed. It is important to respond promptly and provide all requested evidence to avoid any delays in processing your application.

4. Adjudication: The adjudication process refers to the review of your VAWA application by USCIS officers who determine whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements outlined by law. This process can take several months depending on the complexity of your case.

5. Interview: In some cases, USCIS may request an interview with the applicant as part of their adjudication process. This is typically done if there are any discrepancies or concerns regarding the information provided in the application.

6. Submission of Decision: Once USCIS has completed their review and reached a decision on your case, they will notify you through mail or email with either an approval or denial letter.

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Resources and Support Available for Survivors of Violence

Resources and support are crucial for survivors of violence to heal and rebuild their lives. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) recognizes this need and provides various resources and support services for eligible survivors.

One of the primary resources available through VAWA is the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH). This 24/7 hotline offers confidential support, information, and referrals to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. NDVH also has a live chat option on their website for those who may not be able to speak over the phone.

Another valuable resource is the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), which administers grant programs that aim to improve victim services, hold offenders accountable, and prevent violence against women. These grants fund a range of activities such as crisis intervention services, legal assistance, counseling programs, emergency shelter facilities, and more.

Additionally, VAWA funds a variety of organizations that provide direct services to survivors in need. These can include shelters for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault; rape crisis centers; legal aid clinics; counseling centers; health care providers; immigrant service organizations; faith-based organizations; tribal programs; disability advocates; LGBTQ+ organizations; among others.

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