Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
Individuals fall victim to domestic violence within different relationships. This includes immigrants in relationships with United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.
These immigrant victims may remain in abusive relationships due to fear of deportation or a loss of their immigration status. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides an opportunity for domestic violence victims to obtain legal status without the permission of their abuser.
VAWA amended provisions of the the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.). Under these provisions, domestic violence victims may be eligible to file self-petitions to adjust status and become green card holders. This includes spouses, parents and unmarried children under twenty-one of the abusers.
Beside VAWA self-petitioners, abuse victims under the Cuban Adjustment Act and special immigrant juveniles are also eligible for permanent residence.
Domestic violence victims can apply for a green card after obtaining a U visa. To qualify for U-visa, they must show that:
For example, you may be eligible for a U-visa if you contacted the police, provided information about the abuser, testified in court against them, and helped the police identify other victims, if there are any.
Domestic abuse victims must have lawfully remained in the U.S. on a U-visa for three years to become lawful permanent residents. If they meet the requirements, they may apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with all the supporting documents.
The Violence Against Women Act (V.A.W.A.) protects foreign spouses and children who suffer from domestic violence in the U.S. It allows victims of domestic abuse to receive immigration benefits, including the ability to apply for permanent residency status.
Under the I.N.A., people who wish to become lawful permanent residents must be petitioned for by a relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
However, V.A.W.A. allows immigrants who reside in the United States and suffer domestic violence to seek legal status without the participation of a relative.
Domestic violence victims can self-petition for a green card by filing Form I-360.
V.A.W.A. protections apply equally to men and women who have suffered abuse from a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To be eligible for a V.A.W.A. Green Card, abuse victims must establish the following:
The abuser must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident with a qualifying relationship to the applicant, such as a parent, spouse, former spouse, son, or daughter.
If you are an immigrant in the U.S. who has suffered and escaped domestic violence in your native country, you may qualify for asylum. Consider consulting with an immigration attorney to walk you through the legal process.
Processing times for V.A.W.A. self-petitions are usually between sixteen to twenty-one months. V.A.W.A. green cards are generally processed and approved between one to three years.
The abusive spouse of an immigrant who came into the U.S. with a two-year conditional permanent residence card may refuse to file the joint petition to remove their residence conditions. In this case, the abuse victim may submit Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, and apply for a waiver of the “joint petition” requirement based on battery and abuse claims. You may qualify for V.A.W.A. Battered Spouse or Child Waiver if you can prove the abuse.
Abused immigrant spouses must show that the marriage was genuine and in good faith, but they fell victim to physical or mental domestic abuse. If the abused spouse’s waiver application and petition are approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.), they will receive permanent residency status.
It is crucial to store evidence of domestic violence or related crimes that are committed against you by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent. Strong evidence can increase your chances and convince the U.S.C.I.S. that you are eligible for a green card based on domestic violence.
Evidence that may be presented to the U.S.C.I.S. along with your V.A.W.A. self-petition, U-Visa, or Form I-751 include:
Victims of domestic violence who successfully obtain permanent residency as self-petitioners are entitled to the following benefits:
Applying for a green card as a victim of domestic violence under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) comes with its own set of risks. One major concern is the potential retaliation from the abusive partner upon discovering the application, which could escalate the domestic violence situation.
The abuser’s status could also be a factor, especially if they have connections with law enforcement or social services. Additionally, the abused spouse may face scrutiny over the legitimacy of their claims, including incidents of sexual assault or sexual violence.
Consulting an immigration lawyer is crucial for navigating the complex process and mitigating risks while seeking lawful permanent residence. Even if the victim has a citizen son or daughter, the application process can be fraught with challenges.
Navigating the various options for obtaining a green card as a domestic violence victim can be difficult and overwhelming. That is why seeking guidance from an experienced attorney at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, can provide you with the necessary legal counsel and support you need.
If you are worried about your immigration status after suffering domestic violence, our legal team can advise you on the available legal options to adjust your status.
We are familiar with green card categories and can help you identify the ones that may apply to your specific circumstances. We can provide dependable legal consultation tailored to your unique needs. In addition, we can help you gather evidence of the abuse and ensure that your green card applications are correctly filed and supported.
Whether in the U.S. without legal status or with temporary residence, you may be eligible for a green card if you have suffered abuse from a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.
Contact Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, today for a consultation.