Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Self-sponsored Green Card for Victims of Domestic Abuse
Victims of abuse who are not citizens but are residing in the United States can find shelter in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was passed by Congress in 1994. This act created special provisions in the
immigration law of the United States to protect women victims.
This law allows victims to obtain lawful status without needing to rely on the abuser to petition on their behalf.
What typically happens in these types of cases?
Usually, if you are a spouse, child or parent of a US citizen, or a spouse or child of a legal permanent resident (LPR) and you want to obtain lawful permanent resident status (also known as "green card"), the US citizen or the legal permanent resident has to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and may need to go with you to an interview with Immigration authorities.
Further, if your marriage is less than two years old when you obtain your legal permanent status, you would get what is called "conditional permanent residence" or "conditional green card". Your spouse would then need to file a joint petition with you to remove the "condition" so that you can obtain full lawful permanent residence.
In relationships of domestic violence, these requirements for the US citizenship or LPR's participation are often used by an abuser as a form of abuse, gaining power and control over the immigration status of the victim. Therefore, US immigration law allows certain noncitizen victims of abuse to get legal status on their own without involving the abuser to file anything for the victim.
Work With Our Qualified New Jersey Immigration Firm
We can help you fight deportation and help you seek permanent residency if you have been the victim of domestic violence. There are options available and I am available to discuss an appropriate method of resolution for you.
If you are a battered immigrant, some of the benefits of VAWA include:
- Self-petitions for VAWA green cards
- Immigration court deportation defense
- Modification of conditional residency status
Am I eligible to self-petition for VAWA benefits?
If you are wondering whether you are eligible to apply for VAWA benefits, my firm can help you know what this program offers. VAWA is not limited to women and other individuals can also seek the protections it offers.
You may be eligible to file if you fall under one of the following categories:
- Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (includes male spouses, not just female)
- Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with a child who is abused
- Abused male and female children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
You may apply for lawful status in the U.S. on your own (self-petition) by submitting an application to the United States citizenship and Immigration service, requesting lawful status in the United States without the assistance of the abuser.
Proving Your VAWA Case
I can stand by your side as your New Jersey immigration lawyer as you seek evidence to submit for VAWA benefits. You will need to fill out and submit USCIS Form I-360 and evidence showing that you meet VAWA eligibility requirements.
Evidence that will need to be included with your Form I-360 includes:
- Declaration describing your relationship with the abuser
- Copy of your passport or birth certificate
- Proof that you live in the United states
- Proof that you suffered abuse
- Proof that you lived with the abuser
- Proof that you are either the abuser's spouse, parent, or child
- Proof that the abuser is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Evidence that you are a person of "good moral character"
Contact the Law Office of Simone Bertollini
Offering services in English, Italian and Spanish, do not hesitate to get in touch with my office in New Jersey today for protection if you are a victim of domestic violence. I have been included in the list of Super Lawyers® Rising StarsSM for 2015, due to my excellence in the field of immigration and history of obtaining successful results for my clients.
Get immigration help by calling me at 973-814-4408!