If you are a battered or abused spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may self-petition for an immigrant visa petition without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing. If you have an approved petition, you are also eligible to file for a Green Card. (This is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA))
We here at Solano Law Firm are a safe place and we respect all cultures, religions, sexual preferences, and lifestyles. Our immigration attorneys do not discriminate and provide both legal and emotional support to victims and their families while they pursue these non-immigrant visas.
These rights, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent. We have successfully represented men who have been physically and verbally abused by their wives. Also, if you are in a same-sex marriage, you have the same rights as a heterosexual marriage, all your immigration rights are exactly the same. En Español.
What are some of the signs of abuse?
If you are an immigrant or refugee in an abusive relationship, you may face unique issues that make it hard to reach out for help. Here are some examples of psychological abuse that would qualify. We have seen abusive partners can use the following tactics to abuse immigrant victims:
- Isolation: Trying to control and isolate you from any supportive environment (such as friends, co-workers, family, support groups, counselors, social activities) by trying to interfere in these relationships with his/her behavior.
- Threats: Threatening deportation or withdrawal of petitions for legal status.
- Intimidation and Blame: Project his/her own mistakes and problems on you, blaming you for his/her life and attempting to make you believe that the abuse is your fault, that you somehow did something wrong to deserve it. Abusers will try and rationalize the abuse and blame it on things that have nothing to do with him/her such as: stress, problems at work, financial difficulties, alcohol or the children but takes it out on you, hoping that you will let it continue as his/her outlet.
- Manipulation Regarding Citizenship or Residency: Withdrawing or not filing papers for residency; lying by threatening that the victim will lose their citizenship or residency if they report the violence. Destroying legal documents or papers needed in this country such as passports, resident cards, health insurance, or driver’s licenses.
- Economic Abuse: Getting the victim fired from their job or calling employers and falsely reporting that the victim is undocumented.
- Children: Threatening to hurt children or take them away if the police are contacted.
Who Can File an Immigrant Visa Petition?
Spouse: You may file if you are or were the abused wife or husband of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also file as an abused spouse if your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. You can also include your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves on your petition.
Parent: You may file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen, and you have been abused, either physically or verbally by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
Child: You may file for yourself if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. Your children may also be included on your petition if you have any. You may also file for yourself as a child after age 21 but before age 25 if you can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.
Proving the Relationship
We need to prove the relationship, but if you have been physically or verbally abused, it is not necessary to have called the police or have a police report on file. This is a different process than those who have been victims of a crime or Trafficking which has a different standard of proof.
Can I Get a Green Card?
Yes, the final outcome of your VAWA case is a green card. The government grants you permanent resident status.
If someone you know is physically or mentally abused by a spouse or parent, please refer them to our office at (404) 800-9086. Victims of abuse are not alone. We specialize in abuse cases and we will protect your identity and keep this confidential.
Founder, Solano Law Firm