I was denied a VAWA visa: What do I do now?

In our ongoing commitment to provide support and guidance to people who face legal and emotional challenges, we want to address a crucial issue: “What happens if my VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) application is denied?” This is a frequent question that arises from the anxiety of the long wait for a decision in this process.

At times like these, it is vital to have accurate information and effective solutions to overcome this challenging situation. In this article, Jaskot Law will explore helpful strategies for dealing with rejection on your VAWA application and regaining control of your life.

Table of Contents

    Important reminder: what is VAWA and who is eligible to apply?

    What is the VAWA visa?

    The VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) visa is a program created in the United States to help victims of domestic violence and family abuse. This visa allows individuals who have been abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse to apply for legal residency without relying on the abuser.

    Who is eligible to apply for the VAWA visa?

    Despite its name, it is not only available to women, but to anyone who has suffered abuse. Individuals who may be eligible to apply for the VAWA visa include the following:

    1. Spouses: You may be eligible if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and you were a victim of domestic violence or extreme abuse by your spouse. Children under the age of 21 may be included in the petition if they were also victims of abuse.
    1. Children: If you are a child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and you were abused by your parent, you may be eligible to apply for VAWA. You can self-petition if you are under 25 years old and the abuse was the main reason you did not file the petition before your 21st birthday.
    1. Parents: You may be eligible if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you were a victim of abuse by your adult son or daughter.

    In addition, you must meet certain requirements, such as having lived with the abuser, having suffered abuse in the United States, and demonstrating good moral character. The team of Jaskot Law team can help you verify your eligibility, so you can begin the process with confidence.

    Understanding VAWA application denials

    It is essential to understand that rejection of a VAWA visa application is not the end of the road. Many people become discouraged after an initial refusal, but it is essential to persevere and seek alternatives to challenge the decision. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reject an application for a variety of reasons, such as those mentioned in detail below.

    Woman reading a lawyer's report on "What happens if my VAWA application is denied?" in order to reverse her situation and obtain a VAWA visa.

    1. Lack of evidence of abuse

    If you do not provide sufficient evidence that you were abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, your application may be denied. This includes physical evidence, testimony, medical, or police records.

    2. Ineligibility by background

    Serious criminal history or prior immigration violations may result in inadmissibility for a VAWA visa. This may include offenses such as fraud, drug-related offenses or certain moral crimes.

    3. Errors in the application

    Submitting an incomplete application, failing to follow instructions correctly, or failing to include required forms or fees may lead to rejection of your VAWA application.

    4. Invalid marriage

    If you cannot prove that your marriage to the abuser was legitimate and not just for immigration benefits, your application may be denied. Evidence of a genuine and shared commitment to the relationship is needed.

    5. Disinformation or fraud

    Providing false or misleading information on your application may result in a denial. Honesty and accuracy in all information and documentation submitted are essential to the process.

    6. Absence of relationship with the abuser

    You must show that you are or were related to the abuser, such as a spouse, child or parent. Without this connection, you will not be eligible for the VAWA visa.

    7. Confidentiality issues

    The VAWA visa protects the confidentiality of applicants; however, if these protections are violated and the applicant’s security is compromised, there may be problems in the processing of the application.

    8. Failure to comply with residency requirements

    You are required to have lived with your abuser in the United States. If you cannot demonstrate that you have met this residency requirement, your application may be rejected.

    "What happens if my VAWA application is denied?" thinks an immigrant woman as she reads the instructions for applying for this immigration remedy.

    What happens if my VAWA application is denied? How do I regularize the situation?

    Considering all the possible reasons why the USCIS could deny your VAWA visa application, you should know that there are actions you can take to reverse the situation. Among them, we recommend the following:

    1. Gather more evidence of abuse

    If the reason for rejection was lack of evidence, you can gather additional documentation, such as more detailed police reports, medical records, witness testimony, photographs of injuries, or supporting statements from professionals (social workers, psychologists, etc.).

    2. Addressing criminal records

    If the denial is based on a criminal record, you may apply for a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility or Form I-601, explain the circumstances, and demonstrate your rehabilitation and good moral character.

    3. Correct errors in the application

    If there were errors or missing documents, you should carefully review your application, correct the errors, and make sure that next time you include all the required information and documentation.

    4. Proving the validity of the marriage

    To counter a denial based on the invalidity of the marriage, you can present additional evidence of the relationship, such as joint financial records, photographs, communications, and statements from friends or relatives confirming the authenticity of the marriage.

    5. Clarify misinformation or fraud

    If the rejection is due to inaccurate information, provide a clear explanation and any evidence that corrects the record. If it was a misunderstanding, clarify it; if it was a mistake, rectify it.

    6. Establish the relationship with the abuser

    If your relationship to the abuser is in question, submit additional evidence, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or any legal documentation that proves your relationship to the abusive citizen or resident.

    7. Resolving confidentiality issues

    If there are concerns about confidentiality, be sure to contact USCIS to discuss the protections under VAWA and how they may impact your case.

    8. Demonstrate compliance with residency requirements

    If you need to prove that you lived with your abuser, gather evidence such as leases, bills, correspondence or other documents that show your common residence.

    In all cases, it is crucial that you contact an immigration attorney who specializes in VAWA cases to advise you on the best way to proceed. At Jaskot Law, we can help you understand the reasons for the rejection and develop a plan to address the specific issues in your case. Contact us!


    Facing rejection on your VAWA application can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and persevering determination, it is possible to overcome this obstacle. Remember that each case is unique and requires a personalized approach.

    Don’t hesitate to seek legal help to maximize your chances of success. At Jaskot Law, the team of immigration attorneys is here to support you through every step of this arduous process and help you secure a safe and secure future.


    Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

    Waiver of inadmissibility or Form I-601

    Permanent Residency for VAWA Self-Petitioner

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long do I have to file an appeal after my application is denied?

    Generally, you have 30 days from the date of the denial notice to file an appeal. It is critical that you act quickly and gather all relevant documentation to support your case during this period.

    What type of additional evidence can I submit in an appeal of my VAWA denial?

    In an appeal, you may submit additional evidence to support your eligibility for a VAWA visa. This includes detailed testimony about the abuse suffered, medical evidence, police reports, letters of support from people you trust, and any other documentation that demonstrates the authenticity of your case.

    What happens if my VAWA application is denied? Can I file a new application after the first one has been denied?

    Yes, you can file a new VAWA visa application even after the first one has been denied. It is important to learn from previous mistakes, correct any deficiencies in the documentation, and submit a better prepared application on the second attempt.

    What happens if my appeal is also denied?

    If your appeal is denied, there are still legal options. You can explore other avenues, such as applying for asylum, adjustment of status through a qualified relative, or even consider getting help from domestic violence support organizations. It is essential to seek legal guidance to determine the best option for your particular case.