The Violence Against Women Act, known as VAWA, is a U.S. federal law. It offers protection and assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes.
VAWA allows victims who are family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain independent immigration status, and even a work permit in the country. However, a common question that often arises is how long VAWA work permits take to be approved.
In this article, Jaskot Law will provide you with information about the VAWA work permit, its requirements, eligibility and, most importantly, how long it takes to be approved, and what influences the approval period. Keep on reading!
Deferred action and the role of VAWA work permits
Once an individual has filed a VAWA self-petition, and it is approved, in most situations, he or she is granted “deferred action” status. Deferred action means that no deportation proceedings will be initiated against you.
Then, the next crucial step is to obtain a work permit. This authorization allows beneficiaries to work legally in the country while awaiting a decision on their immigration status, but there are often many questions about how long VAWA work permits take to be approved.
Application process and how long VAWA work permits take
The VAWA work permit application and approval process can be complex, but knowing the deadlines will help you plan ahead. Here we explain how long each phase could last:
1. Initial Application
The first phase is to submit the initial application. This involves collecting documents, completing forms, and submitting them to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On average, this process can take from 6 to 12 months.
2. Eligibility Evaluation
Once USCIS receives your application, they will conduct a thorough review to determine if you are eligible for a VAWA work permit. This may take about 3 to 5 months.
3. Request for Additional Documents
In some cases, USCIS may request additional documentation or evidence to support your application. This may extend the process by a few additional months.
4. Interview (if necessary)
In certain situations, an interview with USCIS or the appropriate authorities will be required to clarify details of your application. This can add another 4 to 6 months to the process.
5. Approval and Issuance of the Permit
Once your application is approved, USCIS will proceed to issue your VAWA work permit. This final step usually takes 2 to 4 months.
6. Receipt of the Permit
Finally, you must wait for the work permit to arrive at your home address. This usually takes 2 to 3 weeks.
Now that you know how long VAWA work permits take from the initial phase until you receive it, our team at Jaskot Law can help you make the waiting time smooth and achieve a positive outcome. Contact us and we will help you!
Key Documents to Apply for a VAWA work permit
In order to apply for a VAWA work permit, it is essential to present solid and complete documentation to support your case. The following documentation is essential to demonstrate that you are eligible for this benefit:
- Form I-360 – Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Petition: This is the main form that you must complete and file in order to access the VAWA visa and, subsequently, the respective work permit. You must be sure to fill it out accurately and provide all the required information.
- Prueba de elegibilidad: deberás incluir pruebas sólidas que demuestren que eres víctima de maltrato por parte de un cónyuge ciudadano estadounidense o excónyuge. Esta evidencia puede incluir, entre otras cosas, lo siguiente:
- Legal documents related to abuse, such as restraining orders or police reports.
- Detailed affidavits from you and witnesses who can confirm the abuse.
- Medical tests, if injuries are evident.
- Photographs or documentary evidence to support your claims.
- Proof of Good Moral Character: You must demonstrate that you are of good moral character. This may require providing a criminal record and evidence of your history of ethical behavior.
- Pruebas de la relación con el cónyuge ciudadano estadounidense o excónyuge: es importante demostrar que tenías una relación genuina con tu cónyuge ciudadano estadounidense o excónyuge. Esto puede incluir lo siguiente:
- Marriage certificate
- Cohabitation proof
- Evidence of the relationship before the marriage, such as photographs or correspondence
- Financial Evidence: In some cases, it may be necessary to demonstrate that you are not a public charge to the U.S. government. This may require proof of your ability to support yourself financially, such as employment records or evidence of income.
- Application Fees and Photos: You must include payment of the appropriate application fees and provide photographs in accordance with USCIS specifications.
- Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization: This is another crucial form that you will need to submit with your VAWA application if you wish to receive a work permit while your application is pending.
It is important to note that the VAWA application and subsequent work permit process is complex and may vary depending on individual circumstances. Don’t worry, at Jaskot Law, we can guide you to file the documents in a timely manner.
Benefits of applying for a VAWA work permit
Obtaining a VAWA work permit carries several significant benefits for formerly abused individuals. These are some of the key benefits that can be obtained:
|Economic Independence||By having the ability to work legally in the United States, individuals gain the opportunity to generate income and become financially independent, which reduces their dependence on an abusive spouse.|
|Personal Safety||By obtaining a work permit, victims of abuse can begin to build an independent life and move away from an abusive environment. This contributes significantly to their physical and emotional safety and well-being.|
|Access to Social Benefits||With a VAWA work permit, individuals may qualify for certain social benefits, such as health insurance and public assistance programs. This can help them obtain medical care and other essential services for themselves and their families.|
|Possibility to Apply for Permanent Residence||The work permit is a crucial step towards obtaining permanent residency and subsequent naturalization in the United States. After a certain period of time of having a work permit and meeting other requirements, individuals can apply for permanent residency, which gives them a more solid legal status in the country.|
|Personal and Professional Development Opportunities||Working legally in the United States offers opportunities for personal and professional development. People can access better jobs, education, and training to improve their quality of life and that of their children.|
|Community Contribution||By having the ability to work and live without fear of deportation, individuals can contribute positively to their communities while becoming an example of overcoming adversity.|
If you are a Latino immigrant and have suffered domestic violence or family abuse, our attorneys can help you understand the benefits you may be eligible for after receiving a VAWA work permit. Contact us!
Obtaining a VAWA work permit is a crucial step towards safety and independence for former victims of domestic violence in the United States. If you are considering this process, it is essential to understand how long VAWA work permits take to be approved, the general terms, and to be prepared for the process.
Although it may take time, the end result is priceless: a life free from abuse and the opportunity to build a better future. If you would like more information about VAWA work permits or need legal advice, Jaskot Law can help you. We will accompany you on your journey to a better life in the country!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my VAWA work permit petition is denied?
If your request for a work permit is denied, you can appeal the decision. In that case, an immigration attorney can review your case, identify potential problems and help you file the appeal or a new application with the proper documentation to increase your chances of success.
Can I travel within the United States after receiving a VAWA work permit?
Yes, after receiving the VAWA work permit, you can travel within the United States without restrictions. This permit allows you to work and live legally in the country, which includes the freedom to move to any state without problems.
How do I know if USCIS approves my VAWA work permit?
To find out if your work permit is approved, you should watch for notifications in the mail. The USCIS will send you an official written notice confirming the approval of your application. You can check the status of your application online through the USCIS tracking system.