Arlington VAWA Lawyer

Sadly, domestic violence and abuse is still a major problem, and much of this violence is directed towards non-citizens. Often, foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens become stuck in mentally, physically, and sexually abusive relationships and they can be reluctant to report the violence committed against them out of fear of deportation.

Fortunately for such individuals, the Violence Against Women Act, often abbreviated as “VAWA”, allows immigrants to petition for a Green Card on their own (without the sponsorship of the abusive party). It also allows abused non-citizens to report any acts of domestic violence committed against them or their children.

If you believe you may be covered by VAWA, do not hesitate to contact an Arlington VAWA lawyer at your earliest convenience. Let a compassionate immigration attorney help you through the legal process.

Basic VAWA Standards

Not all abused immigrants will qualify for VAWA, and whether a person qualifies is greatly influenced by the circumstances of their case. Normally, the following must apply to an individual before they can apply for a Green Card under VAWA:

  • Their alleged abuser is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card holder)
  • The abused individual can prove they were legally married to the alleged abuser
  • The abused person and their alleged abuser cohabitated
  • The alleged abuser subjected the abused person to acts of extreme cruelty or battery
  • The abused person did not marry the alleged abuser for immigration purposes (to obtain a Green Card)

The Act also requires applicants to be of a good moral character, so individuals with prior criminal convictions and those in the country illegally may not qualify. Consult with an Arlington VAWA attorney to learn more about being covered by VAWA.

What is Considered Proof?

First off, applicants will need to prove they were subjected to extreme cruelty or battery. The USCIS will examine any proof meticulously, and cases without proof will not be considered.

Police reports, medical documents, restraining orders, and reports from social workers and counselors can be used as evidence, but in reality, any evidence deemed “credible” will be considered. In general, the more evidence a person submits, the greater their chances of approval will be.

It is also important to note that abused men can apply for a Green Card through VAWA as well (the Act does not discriminate on the basis of gender). Since same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, men and women in abusive same-sex relationships may also apply.

Submitting a Personal Statement

Anyone who wishes to obtain a Green Card through VAWA will need to submit a personal statement describing the abuse they endured and the personal character of the alleged abuser. Many attorneys consider this statement to be the most important part of the application process, and individuals who do not know how to properly draft a statement may want to consult an experienced Arlington VAWA lawyer. This is highly important, and even the smallest mistake can jeopardize an application.

As previously mentioned, VAWA applicants must also be of “good” moral character. The legal system has a significant amount of latitude to decide what is considered “good” and “bad,” but in most cases, a person simply needs to have a clean criminal record.

Contact an Arlington VAWA Attorney

If you are currently married to an abusive U.S. citizen or Green Card holder, you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card under VAWA. No one should have to choose between their own safety or health and a Green Card, and if you qualify for VAWA, you will not have to. Contact an Arlington VAWA lawyer for additional information.

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