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Are you the victim of cruelty or physical abuse caused by a U.S. citizen or green card holder?

Each year, countless victims of domestic abuse seek protection through a federal law known as the Violence Against Women Act. Commonly referred to as VAWA, this act could apply to abuse victims regardless of their gender and immigration status.

Many times, vulnerable people are in the difficult position of needing help from an abuser to qualify for a visa. With the help of a dedicated immigration attorney, it could be possible to rely on VAWA to move that application forward without needing to depend on an abusive sponsor. The government also protects proof of your filing.

Before you begin, it is crucial to understand the necessary VAWA application forms in Berwyn.

Does My Abusive Relationship Qualify?

You can self-petition if you are:

  • An immigrant abused by your U.S. citizen/green card holder spouse
  • An immigrant parent of a minor child who was abused by your U.S. citizen/green card holder spouse
  • An immigrant that marries a U.S. citizen/green card holder and you later learned that your spouse was already married to another person
  • A child abused by your U.S. citizen/green card holder parent
  • A parent abused by your U.S. citizen/green card holder adult child that is 21 years or older

For more help assessing your unique situation and filling out VAWA application forms, speak to our Berwyn attorneys now.

What Kind Of Abuse Qualifies?

You can qualify for VAWA if you can prove that you have been battered or you have been subject to extreme cruelty. Abuse and extreme cruelty take many forms. Here are some common scenarios that may qualify you for VAWA. Contact our Berwyn attorneys if you can answer yes to any of these scenarios, and we could help you get your VAWA application forms in order.

Threats To Your Physical Health

  • Has your family member hit, punched, slapped, spit, kicked, bit, or choked you?
  • Has your family member withheld access to food, shelter, or medical treatment?
  • Has your family member sexually abused or sexually exploited you?

Controlling Your Physical Freedom

  • Does your family member control your personal money?
  • Does your family member try to control you by denying you money?
  • Has your family member isolated you from your friends and family members?
  • Has your family member restricted you from leaving home?
  • Has your family member forced you to live in a dirty, unlivable, or uninhabitable space?
  • Has your family member degraded you such as making you eat from the floor like an animal?

Controlling You Mentally

  • Does your family member consistently and purposely humiliate you through name-calling or other words?
  • Does your family member harass you at work?
  • Does your family member damage your personal belongings on purpose?
  • Does your family member refuse to file a visa petition for you?
  • Does your family member threaten to withdraw your visa application?
  • Does your family member threaten to report you to immigration?
  • Does your family member threaten to separate you from your children or take them from you?

Dominate and Control

  • Does your family member use scare tactics to force you to do things you don’t want to do?
  • Does your family member express jealousy
  • Does your family member accuse you of having an affair?
  • Does your family member refuse to file a visa petition for you?
  • Does your family member follow you or monitor you?
  • Does your family member try to control your activities?
  • Does your family member insult you or humiliate you in front of others?
  • Does your family member threaten to hurt himself or herself if you don’t do what they want?

VAWA and Form I-360

A document known as USCIS Form I-360 initiates the process of seeking protection under VAWA. Like most immigration documents, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is tasked with receiving and reviewing these kinds of forms.

There are different things the government looks for with Form I-360. For example, there must be evidence of domestic abuse in order to qualify for VAWA protection. The form not only asks about these events but also requests supporting documentation as well.

USCIS has two options when they receive this form. They could determine there is not enough evidence to grant VAWA protection and send something known as the “Notice of Intention to Deny.” This is not a denial itself, and it allows the applicant the chance to provide additional documentation of the abuse. Alternatively, USCIS could agree that there is evidence of abuse and move forward with approving the applicant. A local Berwyn attorney could help applicants gather necessary information and avoid the denial of VAWA forms.

Form I-485 and the VAWA Process

In addition to applying for protection under VAWA, there is also paperwork required to obtain a green card and become a lawful permanent resident. This document is known as Form I-485. This step, known as “adjustment of status,” is a necessary part of the process of Berwyn VAWA application forms.

Adjustment of status allows a person seeking a visa to obtain their green card without ever having to leave the country. Once this form is filed and accepted, the applicant’s legal status changes to reflect their lawful resident status.

For many people, it is necessary to wait for months before they can submit this form and complete their immigration journey. A limited number of visas are available, which can impact a person’s waiting period tremendously. Thankfully, anyone who has been provided protection under VAWA is not at risk of deportation while they await their visa slot.

Can I File Both I-360 and I-485 at the Same Time?

There is usually a long waiting period between having Form I-360 approved and getting Form I-485 approved. The good news is that some people qualify for something known as concurrent filing, which can cut down on those delays substantially.

As the name suggests, concurrent filing involves filing each of the documents at the same time. This is only an option for someone who is a spouse of an American citizen. It is also worth noting that concurrent filing can speed up the process but cannot improve an applicant’s chances of success.

Contact a Berwyn Attorney for Help Submitting VAWA Application Forms

If you are facing the reality of abuse and are concerned about your immigration status, VAWA could be the answer. To gain protection under this statute, it is vital for you to understand the necessary VAWA application forms in Berwyn.

The good news is that you do not have to deal with this process alone. Call our firm today for the dependable legal counsel you deserve.

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