If you are present in the country unlawfully and have been the victim of domestic violence or a serious crime, you are a member of the class of people that the U Visa and VAWA self-petition aim to protect. Congress has taken action to protect unlawful residents from being targeted for crime in the community. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and the Violence Against Women Act were passed to encourage undocumented people to report criminal activity to law enforcement authorities.
To qualify for VAWA The victim must prove that they have been physically battered or subjected to “extreme cruelty” by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent or adult child. Through a self-petitioning process, the battered spouse or child may apply for immigration status without the knowledge or involvement of the abuser.
Victims of serious crimes such as domestic violence, sex crimes, felonious assault, and robbery may qualify for a U Visa. However, to be eligible the victim must prove that they reported the criminal activity to law enforcement and were helpful to the investigation of the crime. If approved, you can eventually apply for a permanent resident visa. Call our office to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney who will determine your eligibility for VAWA and U Visa.