PPID Law VAWA – Violence Against Women Act

NYC VAWA Immigration Lawyer

PPID provides legal counsel to those seeking a U.S. Green Card under the VAWA Act.

Our attorneys provide online and face-to-face legal consultations. Establishing a relationship and clearly understanding your needs is a critical first step toward success, as is reaching out to a New York City VAWA immigration lawyer.

We speak Spanish, Chinese, Bulgarian, Russian, Hindi, Punjabi, and more. We go above and beyond to make sure that language is never a barrier between us and our clients.

VAWA – Violence Against Women Act was crafted in response to violent crimes against women, particularly domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

If you have moved to New York City to start a new life or pursue economic or personal opportunities, facing violent interactions in the home can be extremely challenging and, in some cases, can seriously threaten your immigration status. The Violence Against Women Act allows abused immigrants to apply for lawful permanent residency without having to rely on their abusive family members. A New York City VAWA immigration lawyer can help support you in applying for a green card under VAWA.

What Is the Violence Against Women Act?

VAWA – Violence Against Women Act was crafted in response to violent crimes against undocumented individuals who are spouses, children, or parents of men or women that are legal permanent residents or United States citizens. Crimes include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. There are two paths available under VAWA; Self-petition and as a child of the principal applicant. PPID Immigration attorneys help you navigate the process and VAWA requirements.

You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.

Unmarried children of a VAWA-based principal applicant, who are under 21 years old, may be eligible to apply for a Green Card as a derivative family member.

Who Is Eligible for Protection Under the VAWA?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse.
  • A U.S. citizen parent.
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter.
  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse.
  • An LPR parent.

VAWA applies equally to victims of either sex. A man may also file a VAWA Petition.

How Is VAWA Connected to U Visas?

VAWA and U visas are immigration tools that were implemented by the United States government in order to make provisions for victims of certain violent crimes to be able to protect themselves, receive support, and not fear coming forward due to immigration-related fears and threats. While U visa applicant holders are required to provide incriminating information to law enforcement, VAWA self-petitioners do not have the requirement to assist law enforcement with investigating their abusers or perpetrators.

Connection to U Visas: One of the provisions in VAWA enables non-citizen victims of serious crimes and domestic violence, to apply for a U visa if they’ve been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This provides a potential pathway to legal status for victims who might otherwise fear deportation if they report abuse. PPID provides guidance in obtaining U Visas.

Due to the overlap between U visas and VAWA self-petitioning, there may be crime victims who are eligible to pursue both pathways to achieve citizenship. An experienced immigration lawyer from our firm can analyze your case, take your concerns and goals into deep consideration, and help you decide which immigration avenue is optimal for your situation.

Can I Get New York Employment Authorization Under VAWA?

VAWA self-petitioning and principal and derivative applicants can apply to work by filling out and submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This must be submitted along with or after submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, while it is pending.

An experienced immigration lawyer from our New York law firm can help you get the work authorization that you need to provide for yourself and your family so that you can be financially independent from any abusive or threatening family members.

Can I Leave New York While My VAWA Application Is Pending?

Yes, you can leave the country while your adjustment of status under VAWA application is pending; however, it is crucial to apply for and obtain an advance parole document before leaving. Understandably, you may be in a threatening domestic situation that requires you to leave the country in order to feel safe.

The process of obtaining a travel document will vary depending on whether your Form I-485 has been accepted or if your application is still pending. Because your application can be voided if you leave the country without correct documentation, it is advised to consult a knowledgeable VAWA immigration lawyer before doing so. They can help you acquire the documentation you need to travel abroad while protecting your immigration status in New York.


Q: Can I Self-Petition for a Green Card Under VAWA?

A: Yes, under the Violence Against Women Act, you can self-petition for a green card without the knowledge or consent of your abusive family member. Such individuals are recognized as VAWA self-petitioners, and the process of applying for a green card while located in the United States is called adjustment of status. An experienced immigration lawyer can help protect your rights and safety while supporting you through the green card application process.

Q: What Are the Bars to Adjustment of Status Under VAWA?

A: Normally, when an undocumented individual located in the country tries to adjust their status to become a permanent resident, certain factors can bar them from being accepted, such as having entered the country illegally multiple times or having certain criminal violations.

However, under the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA self-petitioners and their respective beneficiaries may be exempt from these bars to adjustment. A VAWA immigration lawyer can help work to ensure that you do not face bars to adjustment.

Q: What Are the Grounds for Inadmissibility for VAWA Self-Petitioners?

A: VAWA self-petitioners are subject to all of the normal grounds of inadmissibility for receiving a green card, except for public charge and entry without inspection. Grounds of inadmissibility are reasons why green card applicants may be considered inadmissible to become lawful permanent residents.

In many cases, it is possible to waive certain grounds depending on the details of your situation, which can be achieved by submitting a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, or pursuing other options.

Q: How Can I Apply for a Green Card Under VAWA?

A: The application process for a green card under VAWA is similar to the process of applying for a family-based green card. However, you can file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, without the knowledge or consent of the abusive family member. If you are first priority, meaning that there is an immediately available visa, you can file Form I-485 with the petition Form I-360, while the petition is pending, or after it is approved.

Q: Does a VAWA Derivative Applicant Have to Submit an Application?

A: Yes, even if an unmarried child who is under the age of 21 of an approved VAWA self-petitioner meets the specifications to apply as a derivative applicant, they will still need to submit an application to adjust status. They will also need to submit a myriad of supporting paperwork, depending on the situation.

If you are a VAWA derivative applicant, a dedicated immigration lawyer can help protect your rights and interests and guide you efficiently through the green card application process.

Start Working With a New York City VAWA Immigration Lawyer Today

Applying for a green card under VAWA can be complex and intimidating, and you likely fear for the safety of yourself and your children in case your abusive family member finds out about your application.

A dedicated and compassionate immigration lawyer from Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco can provide a safe space to share your story and to address your questions and concerns. We can help you navigate the process of seeking a green card, providing key evidence, and helping you appeal a case decision if necessary. Contact our loyal team today to get started.

PPID Office Locations
New York City

250 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, New York 10007
Toll Free: 800-223-2814
Local: 212-233-8100
Fax: 212-233-9238


1045 Park Street, Suite 104
Peekskill, New York 10566
Toll Free: 800-223-2814
Local: 914-328-2400
Fax: 212-233-9238