Green cards open up pathways to residency for many people. Obtaining a green card by being in a relationship with a U.S. citizen is a reliable and concrete way to immigrate into the United States. However, this process might not appeal to people suffering from domestic abuse at the hands of their sponsor.
Fortunately, the government offers survivors of domestic violence a pathway toward residency that does not require the assistance of an abusive partner. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a path to citizenship that an individual can navigate on their own. If you suffered domestic abuse and are seeking a method of immigration into the United States, you may be able to file a VAWA application form in Aurora. An experienced immigration attorney could determine whether you qualify for this program and help you submit your request.
Establishing Victimhood and Moral Character
The first step toward securing a green card through VAWA involves submitting form I-360. This form requires a variety of data, including a written declaration from the applicant that outlines their relationship with an abusive partner. Additionally, the applicant can use medical records or police information to provide concrete evidence of abuse.
After completing form I-360, an applicant must also demonstrate that they possess a “good moral character.” This process typically involves reviewing the immigrant’s criminal records. The USCIS (Citizen and Immigration services) may also speak with an applicant’s family and friends. The government is usually flexible in granting approvals of good character, but serious criminal offenses can create problems for an immigrant. Anyone over the age of 14 must demonstrate a good moral character. An experienced immigration attorney in Aurora could help communicate an applicant’s integrity when filing an application through VAWA.
Once an immigrant submits his or her application, the USCIS will consider it. If the request is approved, the individual must take additional steps to secure a green card.
Adjusting Your Legal Status
Completing form I-360 establishes that an applicant qualifies as a survivor of domestic violence. However, this document does not alter their legal status in any way. To secure a green card, they must adjust their legal status by filing form I-485.
Applicants cannot file their I-485 form until their I-360 is accepted and a visa slot becomes available. Unfortunately, this can often take more than a year. This means that there is often a large gap between the filing of both required forms. Fortunately, the government is not allowed to deport an individual who is stuck in application limbo.
There are some instances in which an applicant can file forms I-485 and I-360 at the same time. For example, someone who is married to a lawful U.S citizen is allowed to file these two forms concurrently. Filing simultaneously is beneficial from an efficiency perspective, but it does not improve one’s chances of being selected. A skilled immigration attorney in Aurora could determine whether you are eligible for concurrent filing and help you complete your VAWA application.
Get Help with Filing Your VAWA Application in Aurora
If you are the victim of abuse from your immigration sponsor, you might be able to pursue a green card without their assistance. The Violence Against Women act allows individuals to file an immigration claim if they can prove that they are survivors of domestic abuse. This program can be incredibly powerful, but it is time-consuming and not all applications are approved.
Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this process on your own. A lawyer could determine whether you are eligible for this program and help you submit your VAWA application forms in Aurora. Do not hesitate to contact the Godoy offices today for further information.