VAWA Immigration Attorney in Chicago
Are You Eligible for a Green Card or Visa under VAWA?
Violence against women is a major public health issue and a violation of women’s human rights. The World Health Organization estimates about 1 in 30 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, which can lead to serious injuries, homicide, or suicide. Luckily, there is hope.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally enacted in 1994 in response to concerns about violent crime, particularly against women, and addresses domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, among others. VAWA intends to prevent violent crime, respond to victims’ needs, learn more about crime, and change public attitudes.
How does this apply to immigration?
VAWA contains provisions that allow eligible non-citizens to file immigrant visa petitions and petition for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status without their abuser knowing. As such, if you are a victim of battery who is seeking a home in the United States, speak to our Chicago VAWA lawyer to learn how we can help make that possible. You can reach us at (312) 698-9066!
Eligibility for Immigrant Visa Under VAWA
Battered spouses, children, or parents may file an immigrant visa petition without their abusers’ knowledge. However, they must several eligibility requirements.
Immigrants who qualify for the VAWA include:
- Spouses or former spouses of U.S. citizen or LPR abusers
- Children of U.S. citizen or LPR abusers who file before they turn 25
- Parents of a child abused by a U.S. citizen or LPR, even if they are not themselves abused
Those who terminated their marriage due to death or divorce related to the abuse within 2 years of filing can also qualify. Victims who discover their marriage was illegitimate due to the abusive spouse's bigamy can also still qualify. Additionally, you may qualify if the abuser lost or renounced their citizenship or LPR status within 2 years to filing.
Filers under the VAWA must be able to prove the battery or extreme cruelty, as well as:
- If married, having entered the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits
- The relationship to the abuser, including residing with the abuser
- The relationship to any children involved
- The immigration status of the citizen or LPR abuser
- Your good moral character (children under the age of 14 are automatically presumed to be persons of good moral character)
Green Card Eligibility for VAWA Self-Petitioners
VAWA allows eligible victims of battery or extreme cruelty (see below) to self-petition for a Green Card if their abuser is one of the following:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse
- A U.S. citizen parent
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter
- An LPR spouse or former spouse
- An LPR parent
VAWA self-petitioners must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements to obtain a Green Card:
- You file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- You are physically present in the US at the time of filing Form I-485
- You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa
- You have an immigrant visa immediately available at the time of filing Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on the application
- None of the bars to adjustment of status apply to you
- You are admissible to the US for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief
- You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion
To obtain an immigrant visa, VAWA self-petitioners must have one of the following:
- An approved VAWA self-petition
- A previously filed VAWA self-petition that remains pending (if approved)
- A VAWA self-petition (if ultimately approved) filed together with your Form I-485
Helping Victims Get Protection Under VAWA
Still unsure if you’re eligible for a Green Card or visa under VAWA? Allow us to provide the clarity you need to move forward with the filing process. After determining you are eligible, our Chicago VAWA attorney can walk you through each step and ensure you complete the forms and documents correctly. From start to finish, we can protect your rights and work towards the future you deserve.
For more information on how we can serve you, reach out to us online or at (312) 698-9066 to arrange a consultation!