VAWA Application Process

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) application form is the USCIS Form I-360 and in some cases where the individual applicant is married to their abuser who is a US citizen, they can file the I-485 USCIS application for an adjustment of their citizenship status at the same time. Everybody has access to the free forms. You can download it from the USCIS.gov website.

It is a straightforward form. There are a number of pages that will be left blank because the I-360 is used for several different types of immigration benefits including a religious based visa.

It is a very basic form on which the applicant provide biographical information about themselves, about their abuser, as well as information about their lawful status and some data pertaining to their lawful status. The form itself is fairly straightforward and actually the simplest part of the VAWA application process. For assistance throughout the entire process, contact a Maryland VAWA immigration lawyer.

Confidentiality

The application is confidential. There are a number of different directives in place as a means of protecting these applications from being accessed. For example, a person may have a concern that his or her abuser will find out about the application by calling USCIS because the abuser’s name is on the application but that is not a possibility.  They have all been adjudicated in a special isolated department of the Vermont Service Center called the VAWA department and they have very strict rules about who can access the documents for confidentiality of the applicants.

Additional Forms

It depends on the type of application that the individual is filing and the immigration status of the abuser, but generally, if they are married to a US citizen, they will be immediately eligible for a green card if their VAWA petition is favorably adjudicated.

So in that case, they would file the application with the I-360 and the I-485 and also include an application for work authorization which is filed on form I-765 and also a biographical information form which is filed on USCIS Form G-325.

Then if the applicant has an attorney, they will also submit an application that registers the attorney in their case and that is filed on form G-28.

Immigration Status

If someone is married to a legal permanent resident, he or she is eligible for VAWA and can then apply just for the VAWA application on form I-360. If that application is favorably adjudicated, then he or she will be placed into something called deferred action status and meaning they can apply for a work authorization. They are here legally, but they will need to wait for the priority date on their I-360 which is basically the date that he or she will receive the filing date of the I-360.

The applicant will have to wait and check on the National Visa Center website to find when their priority date will become current because they’ll not be immediately eligible for a green card if they are applying through a legal permanent resident abuser.

If Married to US Citizen

So in the case of an individual who is married to a US citizen abuser, they don’t have to wait through the visa line. They will be considered what is called an immediate relative which means they are an immigrant and their green card will be accessible to them.

In those cases, they file the entire application package together and the I-360 and the application for the green card on the 485 will be adjudicated in tandem.