The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, has contained rules relating to immigrants who are experiencing violence since its initial passage in 1994. If an immigrant is in a bad situation with their current spouse and potentially being taken advantage of due to their status, the VAWA gives them a chance to petition for special immigration status. If you are trying to escape a bad situation and believe that you may be eligible to apply for a change of status, a conditional residence I751 petition attorney from our law firm may be able to help you.
Who is Eligible for a Visa Through the VAWA?
An abused spouse, an abused child, or the parent of an abused child are all eligible to apply for immigration status through the VAWA. They can file Form I-360 Self-Petition with supporting documentation and evidence of abuse. We do want to note that a police report is not a requirement. We understand that many victims in this position are reluctant to involve the police. Do not think that you will not be able to apply just because you never called the police.
If a VAWA petition is approved, the petitioner is usually granted deferred action status, meaning that removal proceedings will not be started against them. They can also qualify for some benefits and work authorization. Then they can be invited to apply for permanent residency eventually.
What If I Am Still in a “Conditional Residency”?
Conditional residency is a status given to immigrant spouses who have entered into a marriage with a United States citizen within less than two years. Normally, when filing for a change in immigration status after this, both spouses would have to file and show that the marriage was entered into in good faith.
However, when an immigrant spouse has been abused and battered, this arrangement is not ideal. It can leave someone reliant on their abuser. They can file their own I-751 petition and leave their abusive spouse out of the process entirely.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney to Use This VAWA Provision?
You do not need an attorney to do all of this, but having an experienced immigration lawyer on your side can make this process easier. Our office has plenty of experience helping people petition for new immigration status. We are also well-acquainted with all of the necessary paperwork, like the supporting documents that need to go along with any petition. Let us take care of that stuff for you.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you want to learn more about this process and how you can use this VAWA provision, contact the Law Offices of Cheryl R. David. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about your options and what an immigration attorney can do for you.