Domestic abuse occurs all over the world and affects families who are trying to emigrate legally to the United States. If you are an immigrant woman or an abused man whose spouse or family members have battered them, you may qualify for special protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) including filing a petition for an immigrant visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

This is important because provisions under the Act can allow the abused immigrant to sidestep their abuser and file their petition without any notification to the abuser. This is permanent protection that doesn’t have to be reauthorized by Congress.

Other protections available to victims of abuse

Domestic abusers tend to isolate their victims from their friends and family members in order to make them easier to control. That can make it harder to reach out for the help that you need to break free of the abuse.

In addition to availing yourself of all the provisions of VAWA, domestic abuse victims can also potentially tap into other resources. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers assistance with securing temporary shelter from your abuser(s), seeking mental health treatment, and other help. Their toll-free number is (800) 799-7233 or (800) 787-3224 (TDD).

Learning about your legal rights is important

Understanding your rights and responsibilities under the law is very important in immigration cases. The laws are quite complex and changes in immigration policies can be made by executive actions signed by the President of the United States (POTUS). It is always wise to seek the counsel of someone who has experience dealing with the intricacies of immigration law.