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We are here to help. Our services are available to survivors in any of the following Texas counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller, and Wharton. If you are an immigrant survivor of crime, please contact us via phone or email to schedule a consultation. To learn more about the services we offer, please click here.

What is domestic abuse?

Abuse is not only physical. Abuse can also be verbal, psychological, sexual, financial, spiritual, and digital. Domestic abuse can occur in the context of an intimate partner or dating relationship, but it can also occur between family members and members of the same household.

Domestic abuse, also called domestic violence, is “a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control.” Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you believe you may be experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

What is a VAWA Self-Petition?


VAWA is an option for survivors who have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder. If eligible, survivors can file a VAWA Self-Petition without the abuser’s involvement. In some cases this can include a parent-child relationship.

  • If a spousal relationship, must be legally married and the marriage must have been entered in good faith (meaning not for immigration purposes). Common law marriage is valid in Texas.
  • Must have lived with abuser.
  • Currently resides in the U.S., with some exceptions.
  • Subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by abuser.
  • Must be a person of good moral character.

What is a U Visa?


A U Visa provides temporary status to immigrant survivors of qualifying crimes.

  • The crime must have happened in the United States.
  • There is a specific list of crimes that qualify, which includes domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • The applicant must cooperate with the investigation of the crime and receive a U Visa certification from law enforcement.
  • May be a pathway to a Green Card for those who qualify.
  • There is a yearly limit of 10,000 U Visas. As of June 2021, there are 165,000 applications pending.Therefore, the wait for a U Visa can be many years.

What is a T Visa?


A T Visa provides temporary status to immigrant survivors of human trafficking.

  • The trafficking must have happened in the United States.
  • There are two types of trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
  • The applicant must cooperate with the investigation of the trafficking.
  • May be a pathway to a Green Card for those who qualify.
  • There is a yearly limit of 5,000 T Visas. However, this yearly limit has never been met before.

The information on this page is an overview and does not list all legal requirements. It is solely informational and does not contain legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please contact an attorney.

Advocates for Immigrant Survivors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Copyright © 2021 Advocates for Immigrant Survivors.

P.O. Box 7730 Houston, TX 77270 | 832-644-5524

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