Suffering abuse by a loved one, whether physical, emotional, or financial, can feel devastating. Moreover, if you feel dependent on your abuser to help you to get your green card, you may believe that you need to suffer in silence for the sake of your immigration status.
If you have been married to, the parent of, or the child of an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who is harming you physically or emotionally, you may still have an opportunity get your green card on your own. A seasoned VAWA lawyer can be a helpful advocate during this period in your life.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was passed in 1994. Although the title of the Act mentions only females, the law applies to both men and women who have suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of their U.S. citizen or LPR relative.
A noncitizen may be eligible to petition for VAWA lawful permanent residency if they meet certain criteria enumerated by the USCIS. Although one may self-petition for a green card under VAWA, it is generally helpful to consult an attorney who is well-versed in the VAWA green card process, as they may be more familiar with the requirements of the USCIS.
Eligibility for a VAWA Green Card
There are several categories of persons who may be eligible for lawful permanent residency under VAWA. Men and women may seek a VAWA green card under a qualifying spousal relationship. Certain parent/child relationships with U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident abusers may also establish VAWA eligibility.
Other requirements beyond the qualifying relationship can include exhibiting a record of good moral character. However, children who are younger than 14 are generally presumed to be of good moral character. A lawyer who is well-informed on VAWA green cards may discuss other USCIS eligibility criteria during a client consultation.
How to File for a VAWA Green Card
The USCIS has certain forms that must be submitted with supporting documentation to establish eligibility for a VAWA green card. Petitioners generally need to complete Form I-360 and file the form with supplemental evidence to the Vermont Service Center of the USCIS.
If a Form I-360 is approved, the petitioner for lawful permanent residence under VAWA may then seek authorization to work in the United States, as well. As such, a VAWA green card can provide the freedom to live separately from the abuser and the ability to make a living in the United States.
It may be wise to seek the assistance of an attorney who is knowledgeable about green cards based on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), as the forms can be cumbersome. A skilled VAWA lawyer can also provide counsel on what documentation would best support a petition.
Contact a VAWA Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has had the misfortune of suffering extreme cruelty at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, it may be time to contact a competent VAWA immigration attorney. Retaining a capable green card lawyer can make all the difference in creating a persuasive VAWA petition.
Call today to schedule an in-person or telephonic consultation with a talented green card lawyer who is proficient in petitions related to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It can be a relief to have someone on your side during this process.