T Visa or VAWA: Which Is Right For You?

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T Visa or the VAWA self petition: which one is the right one for you?

Things may not be going so well at home for you, and you may be forced to do a lifetime of service to your spouse that you never even envisioned. Your spouse might be forcing you to clean the house, do all the cooking, do all the cleaning, maybe even work outside the house and give them all the money that you aren't or even pressuring you to have sex or engage in other sexual activities that you do not wish to do.

If this is happening to you, you might qualify for one of two types of cases the T Visa or the VAWA self petition. So which one is right for you? These two cases do have different requirements and different types of benefits. So let's talk more about what they entail.

The VAWA of self-petition is designed to protect relatives of U.S. citizens or green card holders who suffered a battery or extreme cruelty by their relatives. On the other hand, the T visa was designed to protect victims of either labor trafficking or victims of sex trafficking. But you might be surprised to find out that there is a lot of overlap between these two cases and a lot of similarities, especially if you have been labor trafficked by your partner or your husband or wife. And as a result, a person may even qualify for both VAWA and for the T visa.

But what are some of the situations where you might instead choose to do a T visa over a VAWA and vice versa? Why might you choose to do a VAWA over the T visa? For me, one of the most critical points that we need to look at is whether your spouse is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Because right off the bat, if you are not married to a green card holder or to a U.S. citizen, then you would not qualify for VAWA anyway.

For example, if you're married to a spouse who threatens you with deportation or threatens to call the police on you when you don't have the dinner or when you don't perform certain chores or work around the house, that may very well qualify for t visa.

But where that spouse is also a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, that may mean you also qualify for the VAWA self position.

When I Would Choose the T Visa

Here are my top reasons why I would recommend a T visa over a VAWA for persons who do qualify for a VAWA self petition, but where the T visa is more beneficial.

Number one, if you have something called the permanent bar. Now in this situation, why a T visa might be preferable to a valid self petition is because the permanent bar may not be waived in all VAWA self petitions.

Generally speaking, in order to waive the permanent bar through a VAWA self petition, a person must show that there was a connection between the abuse they suffered during the course of their marriage and the exit, reentry, or deportation from the united states that is associated with the permanent bar. Another way of thinking about this is that if you trigger the permanent bar way before you ever even met your spouse, then generally speaking, it is not going to be possible to waive your permanent bar. So there are certain clients who have the permanent bar for whom filing a T visa might be more preferable over a VAWA application.

The next reason why it might be preferable for you to file for a T visa over a VAWA application is if you have generally ever been convicted of having committed marriage fraud. Now, marriage fraud is one of the most serious things that can happen to you that immigration wants to punish you for, because marriage fraud really makes things a lot harder for those people out there who are in normal marriages. And if you have actually been found to have committed marriage fraud, then it actually makes you ineligible to adjust your status, even if you do have a real marriage later where you do actually suffer extreme cruelty or battery through your new spouse.

But similar to the permanent bar exception inside the T visa, having a finding of marriage fraud also would not prevent you from getting approved for a T visa and adjusting through T visa status in the future.

Another situation where I might recommend a person to go for a T visa over a VAWA self petition is if the client has made a false claim to U.S. citizenship. Like, for example, you presented a U.S. birth certificate to get documents or you presented a U.S. passport, or you filled out a work form saying that you are a U.S. citizen, that would probably constitute a false claim.

And if you have had that, then a T visa might be preferable to a VAWA because, again, you cannot get a green card and adjust your status through VAWA if you have a false claim to U.S. citizenship, but or a T visa that can actually be waived as well.

Now, one more reason why a T Visa might be preferable over a VAWA is because through the T Visa that there is a broader range of persons who can also get a derivative T visa status when the principal applicant has been approved, including spouses and children and even other relatives who might suffer harm on account of the trafficking. Whereas in a VAWA application, the only people who can be derivatives are children under 21 of persons who are filing for a spousal VAWA.

When I Would Choose VAWA

The reasons why I might suggest a VAWA over a T Visa.

Number one is because we do get the work permit and the travel documents in most cases a lot more quickly. Within the T Visa situation, a work permit is not actually issued until the entire T Visa case is approved. But during the VAWA process, if we are also filing an I-485 application to adjust your status, then we can also at the same time file for a work permit and a travel document called Advance Parole. And these typically come maybe 8 to 10 months after filing. So it does come quicker.

And second, in a VAWA application, a person would receive something called a letter of Prima Facia Determination. The Prima Facia Determination is something that is really valuable for persons who are filing for VAWA, because, one, if you end up getting caught or if you end up getting questioned about immigration status, this may be something that you can show in order to help prove that you have a process pending and provide you with a bit of protection.

Second, when you have received a prima facie determination, depending on the state where you live, you can actually become eligible just for this letter alone for many different types of public benefits, if you are filing spousal VAWA application.

And third, this is a valuable document in many states in order for you to get your ID or driver's license.

Whichever path you choose, the most important part is to first have a legal consultation or evaluation with a dedicated and knowledgeable legal team or attorney who knows these differences and can help you make the right choice and move forward in your immigration journey.

If you would like mine helps successfully file your case, give us a call at 212-248-7907 to make an appointment.

And if you would like to learn more about T visas and what it requires in order to get approved, please click on this link and learn more about your options. I'm Moumita Rahman, and I'll see you next time.

☎️ To schedule a case evaluation, call Moumita's office at (212) 248-7907 or visit her website here: Contact

☎️ Para agendar una evaluación de su caso, llame a la oficina de Moumita al (212) 248-7907 o visite su sitio web aquí: Contáctenos

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