VAWA and U Visa
The Violence Against Women Act protects battered spouse, child or parent who are or were abused by an immediate relative who is a U. S. Citizen or a permanent resident.
The VAWA provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Laws allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. Citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser's knowledge. This allows survivors to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.
Commonly Asked Questions
The U Visa, was created to help victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse, and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. To be eligible for a U visa:
- You have been a victim of qualifying criminal activity;
- Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of the activity;
- You have information about the criminal activity;
- You are, or were helpful to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of a crime; and
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
Abusive Sexual Contact
Female Genital Mutation
Fraud in Foreign Labor
Obstruction of Justice
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.
Help is also available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). The hotline has information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status. For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.
Report the Crime
File a report with the police, child protective services or with the proper agency. Bring a copy to your attorney and write down all case numbers and information.
You must demonstrate your assistance to law enforcement. The applicant will submit a law enforcement declaration or certification along with the U-visa application.
Did Not File A Report?
Sometimes you may not want to file a police report, or it may have been filed with a different agency. Tell the attorney what you know, and hopefully together you can figure out whether a report needs to be filed, or refiled with a different agency.