Gainesville, Florida

5 Common Myths about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions

The abuse must be physical. One requirement to qualify under VAWA is that the petitioner has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty. Domestic violence may be physical, but verbal abuse or emotional abuse are also forms of domestic violence and depending on the specific circumstances, may amount to extreme cruelty.

Only women qualify for VAWA. Men are also victims of domestic violence and if they meet the requirements for VAWA, they may qualify for a self-petition. 

There must be a police report. Although police reports will often demonstrate more than one of the requirements for VAWA such as residence with the abuser and battery or extreme cruelty, a police report is not a requirement to apply for a VAWA self-petition.

Immigration will contact your abuser. VAWA contains serval confidentiality provisions making it unlawful for the government to contact your abuser or inform them you have filed a self-petition.

You must be married to your abuser. You may still qualify for VAWA if your petition is filed within 2 years of your divorce from your abuser. Additionally, you may qualify for VAWA if you believed you were married to your abuser, but your marriage was invalid or unlawful.

Link to VAWA content page

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