Have You Been Abused? Seek Legal Help Regarding Your Immigration Status
If you have been abused by your spouse or family member who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may qualify to file for and obtain citizenship. The Violence Against Women Act aims to assist men, women, and children who are living with an abusive spouse or family member and need to obtain citizenship in order to escape their dangerous situation. Take action to secure the safety of yourself and your family and seek legal help filing your VAWA petition.
At the Law Office of Deana Balahtsis, our compassionate New York immigration attorney knows how to assist you. We have 20+ years of experience with complex immigration cases and are confident that we can help you take the necessary legal steps to seek independence.
What is the Violence Against Women Act?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, is a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that specifically addresses the concerns of spouses, parents, and children of permanent U.S. residents or citizens. Under VAWA, an abused spouse, child, or parent can file an immigrant visa petition for themselves without the abuser’s knowledge. The goal of this is to allow the victims of abuse to seek independence from their abuser so that they can better seek safety.
Who is Eligible?
Spouses, parents, and children who were or are currently abused by their citizen or permanent resident are eligible. Despite the name of the VAWA, both men and women are protected.
Other eligibility details include:
- Parents are eligible to file on behalf of their minor children.
- If you were not abused by your citizen or resident spouse, but he or she abused your child, you are also eligible to file for a visa.
- Abused children, under the age of 21 and unmarried, may file for themselves.
- If the abused child can prove that he or she was delayed from filing for a visa because of the abuse sustained by the parent, he or she can file up until reaching age 25.
- You are still eligible if you divorced, (based on grounds of abuse), your citizen or resident spouse within 2 years of filing your petition.
Taking the First Step
In order to pursue an immigrant visa under the rights stated in the VAWA, you must complete the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant and file the form with the Vermont Service Center. If you submit your petition and meet all requirements, you will receive a Prima Facie Determination Notice.
This notice is valid for 150 days, allowing you public benefits at government agencies as a victim of domestic violence. If you are approved for your I-360 form you will also be eligible to work in the United States, given that you also file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).
Trust Our Immigration Attorneys
This process may seem overwhelming, and it can often be very complex. Filing the paperwork and meeting deadlines can be difficult, especially if your home situation is problematic or dangerous. That’s where we come in. At the Law Office of Deana Balahtsis, our experienced lawyer can help you and your family through this process, guiding and advising you every step of the way.