Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

We help victims of abuse at the hands of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents obtain their own path to citizenship under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We’ll help you apply for a green card without notifying your abuser.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Immigration Services

If you or your child is suffering abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner with U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence (LPR) status, you may feel as if there is no way out. Your abuser may use your immigrant status to intimidate you into staying with them. However bleak your situation may seem, you should understand that there is hope. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows victims of domestic abuse to apply for a green card independently without the permission, involvement, or participation of the abuser. The goal of VAWA is to protect vulnerable individuals from continued abuse by allowing them to seek and obtain LPR or U.S. citizenship status, and separate them from perpetrators of abuse and violence.

The dedicated legal team at Florida Immigration Law Counsel cares deeply about ensuring your safety. We understand how complex your situation may be, and we’re prepared to help you identify and pursue the most strategic and efficient path forward. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need, empowering you to take control of your future. We encourage you to contact us today to discuss your situation.

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has allocated funds to investigate crimes against women and prosecute the perpetrators of such offenses. This law aims to protect women from abuse by helping them apply for a green card so they can leave their abusers. Many immigrant women suffer continued abuse from a partner or family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) because they fear deportation or other legal consequences if they leave. At the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, our experienced and caring immigration attorneys are here to advocate passionately on your behalf and secure you the independence and legal protections you need to feel safe again.

Navigating the Path to Safety

If you are suffering abuse, it’s natural to feel alone and isolated. However, you are far from alone in your struggle. You do not have to endure continued abuse at the hands of the perpetrator—legal protections such as VAWA can be used to ensure your safety. It’s important to recognize that the VAWA process is confidential, meaning that you can gain permanent residency without notifying your spouse or partner. You do not need their permission or cooperation to obtain U.S. citizenship. If you are concerned that your abuser will monitor your communications and discover your efforts to apply for citizenship through VAWA, we will work with you to identify methods of facilitating communication that do not threaten your safety during this process.

Applying For a VAWA Green Card

Applying for a green card through the VAWA involves two steps: Filing a self-petition and applying for an adjustment of status. First, you will need to fill out Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. It’s important to understand that the filing fee is waived for those who qualify as an abused spouse or child according to VAWA’s definitions. Once USCIS approves the self-petition, you can file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). Upon approval, you will be able to obtain your green card.
You may also request work permission when completing the I-360 form. If the I-360 is approved, you will be automatically considered for employment authorization. This is another important benefit that can help a VAWA applicant gain financial independence.

Who Qualifies For a Visa Under VAWA?

VAWA is designed to protect victims of domestic violence from suffering continued abuse. In order to qualify for self-petition under VAWA, one of the following must be true:

  • You are an abused or battered spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR)
  • You are a spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR and your child is being abused
  • You are the child suffering abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or LPR parent

It’s essential to recognize that abuse takes many forms. Unfortunately, many immigrants in abusive situations may not think the harm they are enduring is severe enough to warrant protection under VAWA. However, according to the United Nations, domestic abuse is defined as “behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.” Physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional manipulation, economic control, isolation, and psychological intimidation are all considered forms of domestic abuse. Your abuser may use your immigration status to intimidate you into staying with them. However, there is a way out for you. Reach out to our compassionate and dedicated immigration lawyers today to get started.

The dedicated legal team at Florida Immigration Law Counsel is ready to answer your questions and help you determine the best path forward. Call our office today at (800) 666-4996 to get started.

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We will be able to help you prepare for your interview to make sure that you are able to prove that your marriage is legitimate. In some cases, candidates for a marriage visa may be very nervous or unprepared during their interview, which may give the interviewer the wrong impression of the situation. We will work to make sure that you have all of the information that you need, and that you are prepared to work with your interviewer to give them the confidence they need in order to approve your application. With the help of an experienced legal team, you can go into your interview with confidence.


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Attorney Saman Movassaghi, Esq.

Caring and compassionate, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is a Florida immigration attorney dedicated to producing the results her clients need. She has over 17 years of experience helping both corporate and individual clients with an emphasis in employment/investment cases and family adjustment cases.

As the Managing Attorney at Florida Immigration Law Counsel, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez and her team are capable of representing and helping individuals looking to attain a Family VisaWork Visa, and Citizenship/Naturalization. Her experience successfully representing clients in front of the Department of Justice for cases involving Deportation/Removal Proceedings will lead to success in your case.

Her experience and expertise in immigration litigation has led to multiple Avvo awards and other accolades, including the Clients’ Choice for 2017 Immigration Attorney. Her clients also consistently post positive reviews on her Facebook page. Her experience has also allowed her to teach a new generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, and she also regularly gives speeches on immigration matters.

Counselor Gonzalez is also experienced in helping corporate clients through the process of filing for Employment Visas, Labor Certifications, and Business and Investment Visas with the Department of Labor. She takes on the entire case from start to finish, simplifying the process for her clients and allowing them to focus on their business.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi – Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is dedicated to making her clients feel comfortable and assured in making her their go-to immigration attorney in Florida. Her goal is to ensure that those who want to live the American dream have a professional fighting for them and making the process as painless as possible.

Saman’s passion for immigration law stems from her personal life as the daughter of immigrants. Her parents were recipients of the student F1 visa in 1971. Her father came into this country with the goal to improve his life and the life of his children. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering and Business, instilling in his daughter a strong work ethic that she carries to this day. Saman saw firsthand what it means to be an immigrant and achieve the American Dream.

Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez can personally understand the struggle of immigrants and the children of immigrants navigating through the bureaucratic process of immigration law. Because of this, she dedicates herself fully and provides her personal attention to every case. She prides herself on developing a strong relationship with each and every client, and she is not afraid of pushing the envelope and looking for answers where other attorneys have failed.

Saman Movassaghi makes it her goal to provide you with only the best representation for immigration matters because she believes it’s time for you to live the American dream!