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Anyone seeking a green card based on their relationship with a citizen or permanent resident is generally required to seek that sponsor’s approval. However, this can be problematic for the survivors of domestic violence, since acquiring endorsement from an abusive relative can be impossible.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers immigrants a path toward a green card even when their abusive partner or family member refuses to cooperate. Applying for permanent residency through this program is complex and the process requires extensive paperwork. If you have suffered domestic abuse and are seeking residency in the United States, you should contact a skilled immigration attorney. One of our dedicated lawyers could help you understand and submit VAWA application forms in Naperville.

Beginning With Form I-360

There are a couple of significant documents that individuals must submit during the VAWA application process. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews form I-360 to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of domestic abuse. If this document is approved, the applicant will likely be able to obtain a green card without the assistance of their abusive family member.

If USCIS concludes that there is not enough evidence to approve this form they will send something known as a “Notice of Intention to Deny.” This gives the applicant a chance to submit more detailed proof before the denial becomes official. A skilled attorney in the Naperville area who understands the nuances of this process and could help a survivor of domestic abuse begin a convincing VAWA application.

Submitting a Valid Form I-485

In Naperville, after their Form I-360 is approved, applicants must submit Form I-485 to continue with the VAWA process. This step is known as the ‘adjustment of status’ and only applies to individuals who have proved they are a survivor of domestic violence. Successfully filing this form will result in an applicant’s legal status being changed to grant them lawful residency. It is important to understand that only individuals who are in the United States at the time of submitting their application are considered. Therefore, an immigrant cannot file Form I-485 from outside the U.S.

Applicants are sometimes required to wait months before they are allowed to submit Form I-485, due to a lack of visa openings. However, the federal government cannot pursue deportation against individuals who have submitted I-360 but have yet to adjust their legal status. Immigrants are safe while waiting to finish the application process.

Concurrent Filing During the VAWA Process

The law typically requires an individual seeking a VAWA green card to wait for their I-360 form to be approved before moving on to the next step. However, in some instances, applicants might be granted permission to file both forms concurrently.

Only the spouses of American citizens are allowed to file these forms simultaneously. Furthermore, submitting both documents at the same time does not increase an applicant’s chances of approval. An experienced lawyer in Naperville could help an immigrant determine whether they are eligible for concurrent filing during the VAWA application process.

Contact a Naperville Attorney about Your VAWA Application Form

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a program that allows survivors of domestic violence to seek green cards without the assistance of an abusive family member. This process can be challenging, but it gives individuals a fresh start and a pathway toward lawful residency.

If you are a survivor of domestic abuse and are seeking citizenship in the United States, an experienced attorney could be a valuable asset. Our legal team understand the nuances of this immigration system and could help you submit a successful VAWA application form in Naperville. Do not hesitate to contact our offices today for further information.

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