Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

VAWA Attorneys in Skokie

Seek Protection under the Violence Against Women Act

In 1994, Congress established the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), legislation that grants immigration status to certain battered foreign nationals. Protections under the Act are afforded to the noncitizen spouses and children of abusive U.S. citizens and green card holders. The petitioning individual can seek protection without the abuser’s knowledge.

Our Violence Against Women Act attorneys in Skokie can help you take advantage of the protections offered by VAWA. We are passionate about serving those in need and encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible as you seek safety.

Call (847) 443-9303 now to get started on your case.

Eligibility Requirements for VAWA Self-Petitioners

To qualify for immigration status under VAWA, you must prove that you have a qualifying relationship with the abuser and that you have suffered severe battery, abuse, or cruelty.

Examples of qualifying abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Violent acts or threats of violence
  • Sexual abuse or exploitation
  • Verbal abuse and degradation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Intimidation
  • Economic abuse
  • Threats to take away children or have one deported

The abuse must have occurred in the United States and the victim must have lived with the abuser. The victim must also show proof of their good moral character.

VAWA Prima Facie Work Authorization

If you meet the basic requirements, you will be given a “prima facie” determination and will be eligible for certain public benefits.

If your VAWA petition is approved, you will likely be granted deferred action status, which means that USCIS will not initiate removal proceedings (deportation) against you. You will also be eligible for work authorization.

Adjusting Your Status

If you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and your VAWA petition is approved, you are eligible to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident. If you are the immediate relative of a lawful permanent resident, you will be placed in a second preference category and may have to wait longer to apply for permanent residency.

To apply for lawful permanent residency, you must undergo a medical exam and a criminal background check.

You may not be granted a green card if you:

  • Have a record of drug crime involvement or prostitution
  • Committed visa fraud
  • Have been deported in the past
  • Have a criminal record

I-751 Waiver Petitions for Conditional Residents

in 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments (IMFA) to prevent people from committing marriage fraud simply to get a green card. The IMFA subjects immigrant spouses to a “conditional residence” period if they apply for residency within less than two years of marrying a U.S. citizen/green card holder. To remove these conditions, the immigrant spouse has to file a joint petition with their spouse and prove that they entered their marriage in good faith.

Congress also created a special waiver to protect battered immigrants. Victims of abuse can apply to waive the joint petition requirement and file the I-751 petition on their own, without alerting the abusive spouse.

To qualify for this waiver, you must prove that:

  • You entered into your marriage in good faith
  • You were subject to extreme battery or cruelty
  • Being removed from the united states would cause you extreme hardship

Call Gambacorta Law Now

If you have suffered abuse and face the threat of removal, you need the help of a trusted immigration lawyer. At Gambacorta Law, we understand the ins and outs of the Violence Against Women Act and have helped numerous people achieve immigration status and protection under this Act. We encourage you to discuss your situation with us during an initial consultation so that we can help you put a stop to the abuse and find safety in the U.S., away from your abuser.

Contact our VAWA attorneys in Skokie by calling (847) 443-9303 today.


  • Specializing in Complex Immigration Cases

  • Willing to Travel to Clients When Needed

  • Personally Been Through the Immigration Process

  • Services in Tagalog, Thai, Spanish & Vietnamese


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