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  • Writer's picturezavalalegal


There appears to be a growing surge in VAWA scams by people claiming to be attorneys or some who are reportedly attorneys. Immigration scammers may lure immigrants with the promise of getting a work permit, which is possible by filing for adjustment of status with a work permit application at the time of filing a VAWA petition.

However, if the underlying VAWA petition cannot be approved, the adjustment of status application will be denied, and the work permit will be revoked. Moreover, the VAWA applicant may also be charged with fraud or placed in deportation/removal proceedings or deported after a VAWA petition is denied.

VAWA scams often seem to involve abuse by a former spouse or non-marital partner who is NOT a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, or former non-marital partner who is U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. If there wasn’t a legal marriage to an abusive U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (unless the abuser was involved in bigamy and you believed you were married), then a prospective VAWA applicant would not be eligible for VAWA even if they had been abused or subject to extreme cruelty. The only other option would be to report the abuse to the police, cooperate with law enforcement, and proceed with applying for a U Visa if you were the victim of domestic violence or other qualifying crime.

Another common VAWA scam is exaggerating and creating false or misleading accounts about marital disputes, social drinking or other innocuous behaviors like having an argument with your spouse.

VAWA scammers also tend to overlook waiver requirements for those who might need a waiver. For instance, if someone triggered the 10-year permanent bar before they began having a relationship with their abusive U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, the bar would not be waivable because it would not have been related to the abuse.

There are several requirements to qualify for VAWA and waivers if any are needed. If you believe you might qualify, you should contact a licensed attorney or accredited representative.

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