How Long Will Your VAWA Visa Processing Take?

VAWA has proven to be a viable immigration route for abuse victims over the years. However, the extended time taken to process VAWA visas has always caused concern among VAWA self-petitioners. There’s also much uncertainty arising from the fact that VAWA processing times often vary, one from another. 

The delay in VAWA processing often stems from the fact that this visa type is self-petitioned. This means that the USCIS often has to take extra care in investigating the eligibility of each application and that usually requires much more time. This article will explain the various VAWA visa processing times and other factors affecting the processing time. 

Factors Affecting VAWA Visa Processing Time 

The VAWA visa processing time is typically long and can even take a few years to be approved. Some applications may take significantly longer than others to be approved, depending on certain factors. Here are some of the factors that can cause delays in VAWA visa processing times. 

  • Number of Pending Cases: The most common reason why VAWA visas take longer is because thousands of self-petitioners apply for them. And since it already takes a long time to process one, you can imagine how long it will take to process thousands. Different USCIS office offices may have fewer or much more cases to process, and that can affect the time it takes to get to your turn. 
  • Errors in Application: Like other immigration processes, an error in your VAWA visa application process can be quite costly. In the worst case, it can lead to a denial of your petition altogether. But in other cases, it will most likely cause a significant delay in the processing time. 
  • Insufficient Evidence: Since VAWA visa applications are self-petitioned, the whole process may hinge on how much evidence you provide. From evidence of abuse to evidence of cohabitation and other necessary documentation. If you provide wrong evidence or insufficient proof, then it will take much longer for the USCIS to complete their investigation. 

VAWA Petition Processing Time 

VAWA benefits are only available for close family members of US citizens and legal permanent residents. This means only spouses, children, and parents of abusive US citizens can petition for this immigration option. Also, it is important to note that the time taken to process a VAWA visa can be different for each relation. Here are the different time ranges for VAWA visa processing. 

  • For Abused Spouses: If you have suffered abuse at the hands of your US-based spouse, then you are eligible to apply for VAWA immigration. On average this application can take about 36 months to process, except in a few other special cases. 
  • For Abused Children: For dependent children who suffered abuse at the hands of their US-based parents, the time range may be slightly shorter. In the absence of any complications, this visa can take about 26 – 30 months to process. 
  • For Abused Parents: If you are a parent who suffered abuse at the hands of your US-based child, you are also eligible for VAWA Immigration. Also, this VAWA visa has been discovered to be the fastest to process. On average, it takes only about 22 – 24 months to process a VAWA visa for abused parents. 

It is very important to check your mail regularly for updates while waiting for your visa to be approved. Also, you may want to provide a mailing address that the abuser does not have access to to avoid complications. For example, most petitioners provide the address of their VAWA attorney for emails and updates. 

Once you submit your petition, you’ll receive a mail acknowledging your submission. Then, if your case is found to be valid after the preliminary review, you’ll receive an establishment of prima facie case. Of course, this is not an indication that the actual VAWA visa will be approved. However, you can access various benefits with this notice while waiting for your visa approval. 

Can VAWA Visa Processing Be Expedited? 

This is a common question among VAWA visa applicants in waiting, and it’s easy to see why. For a case as complex as VAWA Immigration, the waiting period can easily get frustrating. However, applicants are advised to exercise patience while awaiting a response from the USCIS. This is because while you can easily expedite other Visa application processes, the USCIS only expedites VAWA visa processing in very rare situations. However, if you feel your case is delicate enough to want expediting, you can submit a request for expedited processing. 

How to Secure Quicker VAWA Visa Processing 

Apart from expedited processing, the only other way to secure a quicker VAWA visa processing is by avoiding delays. Luckily, the steps involved are not as difficult as you’d typically expect, and they include:

  • Early Application: The first way to ensure your VAWA visa is processed quicker is to submit your application early. It’s a simple rule because the earlier you apply for your VAWA visa, the earlier you can expect to get approved. 
  • Make Correct Submissions: Another way to avoid unnecessary delay in your VAWA visa processing is by submitting a strong application. This means getting all the documentation correct and avoiding mistakes. You may also want to include undeniable evidence like police reports or hospital statements as proof of abuse. This way, you can make it much easier for the USCIS agent to carry out their investigations. 

The Coleman Law Group Can Help You 

The importance of proper documentation in any visa application cannot be overstated. However, it can sometimes be easier said than done, especially in VAWA cases where you’ll need to compile evidence. That’s why it is important to have a VAWA attorney by your side when self-petitioning for a VAWA visa. Luckily, Coleman Law Group is always available to help you with this process. 

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