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The Violence Against Women Act provides countless protections for residents of the United States. Commonly referred to as VAWA, this federal law also provides options for immigrants who are victims of domestic violence to complete the visa application process on their own.

Often, immigrants who experience domestic abuse and control are at the mercy of their abuser. This happens specifically in cases where sponsorship by the abuser is necessary for the immigration process to move forward. Fortunately, hope is here. A dedicated immigration attorney could help you navigate VAWA application forms in Cicero and find a safe haven.

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 that 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 dedicated assistance filling out VAWA application forms, reach out to our Cicero attorneys.

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. Below are some common scenarios that may qualify you for VAWA. Contact our Cicero legal team if you can answer yes to any of these scenarios, and we could help you complete the necessary VAWA application forms to break free.

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?

What Forms are Needed for VAWA?

In Cicero and beyond, applying for resident status through VAWA involves completing numerous forms and submitting various documents. To initiate the process, immigrants must first prepare a cover letter outlining their reasons and qualifications for seeking protection under VAWA. Along with this cover letter, they must also include a document known as Form I-360.

Form I-360, also referred to as a petition for special immigrants, is what jumpstarts the process. While most immigration documents require an applicant to provide their home address, there are protections in place that allow someone fleeing from abuse to maintain confidentiality and use their attorney’s address instead of their own.

While Form I-360 is the only formal document required under the law, applicants should expect to provide additional information during this process, including documentation that establishes residency in the U.S. or demonstrates a history of abuse.

Adjustment of Status

Once VAWA protections have been awarded, an applicant has the opportunity to earn a green card and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. This is achieved through a process known as adjustment of status.

Adjustment of status requires additional paperwork, primarily Form I-485. An applicant must wait until their I-360 application is approved before moving forward with this step.

This process can take a while. However, there are some limited circumstances where it is possible to file both forms at the same time and avoid some of the delays. One of the benefits of hiring legal counsel is that our team could assist with moving the Cicero VAWA application process forward without avoidable delays.

Background Checks and VAWA Status

It is not enough to file the right forms and complete the right paperwork. Before the federal government will award VAWA status, the person applying must also undergo a background check.

The background check will investigate a number of things, starting with whether the applicant is inadmissible according to the law. This could be the case for anyone with certain criminal convictions or a history of violating immigration laws. The background check will also seek to confirm the moral character of the applicant.

In addition to the aforementioned Cicero VAWA application forms like I-485 and I-360, more information may be needed by the federal government to reach a final decision. In these cases, requests for additional documentation should be complied with as soon as possible.

Talk to a Cicero Attorney About VAWA Application Forms

If you believe you are entitled to the protection of VAWA, it is vital that you get all your documentation in order. Approval of your application could provide you with a path to citizenship and an opportunity to avoid future abuse. Call today to discuss VAWA application forms in Cicero.

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