First Steps of the Montgomery County VAWA Application

While leaving an abusive relationship may be one of the most stressful and overwhelming decisions a person makes, those who seek to do so may have help from Montgomery County immigration lawyer. Take the first steps of the Montgomery County VAWA application by reaching out to a compassionate and driven attorney. A lawyer could help an applicant maneuver through the legal system to seek the shelter they need.

VAWA Applicants Must Take Safety Precautions

Considering that Montgomery County VAWA applicants may have been suffering from abuse or extreme cruelty by a parent, spouse, or child, the first steps an applicant is recommended to take is ensuring that they are safe. This could mean contacting law enforcement, going to a safe place, or having another plan in case the abuser should become violent towards them or take any action that will prohibit the applicant from submitting the VAWA application.

Gathering the Necessary Documents for the Application

The applicant must take into account that there is some documentation that is needed to submit a VAWA application. This paperwork is primarily used to show the relationship that the applicant and the abuser had. They are advised to try and obtain birth certificates, marriage certificates, and similar documents to show proof that they lived with their abuser. A lease with both of their names on it or a bill showing the mutual address could be helpful. Since USCIS does not require original documents, they may be able to get copies of those to submit their application.

It may be helpful if the applicant obtains official records of the abuser. This could include hospital records reflecting the injuries that they sustained, police reports documenting the incidents that occurred, pictures and any statements from doctors who treated the applicant, or statements from social workers or therapists if the applicant had any mental or psychological help. Any statements from family and friends who could attest about the relationship between the applicant and the abuser, and the abuse that the applicant had suffered, may also come in handy. The applicant is recommended to obtain police clearances from the locations where they have lived for the last three years to show that they are a person of good moral standing.

When to Meet With an Immigration Lawyer

A person could contact a Montgomery County VAWA attorney as a first step if they need help completing the application, or if they need assistance determining whether they qualify for VAWA. The applicant could schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney to see if they meet the minimum requirements for submitting a VAWA application, which is whether the abuser was the applicant spouse, parent, or child.

If the abuser’s legal status is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, the attorney may advise the applicant as to whether they will be able to submit the forms I-360 and I-485. These are the applications to become a lawful permanent resident at the same time or at a future date possibly after the approval of the form I-360. The immigration attorney typically asks the applicant about their moral character and whether they have had any arrests or any prior criminal records.

During the process, the attorney will ask the applicant:

  • What occurred
  • What physical, psychological, or emotional abuse was suffered
  • What extreme cruelty the applicant was subject to
  • The level of extreme cruelty or abuse the applicant has suffered

Near the end of the first meeting, the immigration attorney will go through the documents that will be needed to show that the applicant had a relationship with a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. This could include situations where the applicant entered into a marriage with the abuser in good faith and lived with them.

Begin the Montgomery County VAWA Application With an Immigration Attorney

A diligent immigration lawyer could help applicants take the first steps of the Montgomery County VAWA application. Lawyers could assist individuals with collecting the necessary paperwork to establish the relationship between the abused and abuser. An attorney could also gather evidence of the abuse to build the applicant’s case. Consult a Montgomery County immigration lawyer immediately to understand your options.