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Adjustments of Status Through VAWA
What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?
VAWA is a significant policy that seeks to strengthen the jurisdiction and community-based responses to all forms of domestic violence and abuse, including:
- Dating Violence (e.g., Extreme Jealousy)
- Sexual Assault (e.g., Rape or any unwanted sexual activity)
- Psychological Violence / Emotional Abuse (e.g doing extreme punishments)
- Verbal Abuse (e.g., name-calling, blaming)
- Physical Violence (e.g. Beating, Strangulation)
This act also permits assaulted non-citizen immigrants to apply for lawful security, so they no longer depend on their abusive spouses and family members even if they are permanent residents of the United States.
VAWA also includes civil rights protections for victims of gender-based violence, sometimes known as hate crimes, authorizing individuals to file a lawsuit in federal court. The act included American Indians and same-sex couples, as well as higher security for sex trafficking victims. This act aims to achieve equality. It applies to everyone regardless of gender, and this also now covers victims of elder abuse and neglect.
Domestic violence against women is a complicated situation. That’s why you need appropriate legal action. To end violence, don’t hesitate to get help by contacting the national domestic violence hotline. If you have concerns about whether your status as an immigrant will affect your case, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced North Carolina immigration attorneys.
VAWA Proceedings: Getting a Green Card
There are two phases to getting legal permanent residency under VAWA:
- First, you must file a VAWA self-petition, then file a petition for VAWA-based adjustment of status.
- The second step is to file an adjustment application based on VAWA, which is covered in this policy guideline.
VAWA proceedings could be confusing. It is advisable to seek the help of a professional. Our skilled North Carolina immigration attorneys can help you go through such proceedings without a hitch. Call us today for more information.
Guidelines for VAWA Adjustment of Status
While applying for a legal green card through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you must abide by slightly different processes than other petitioners in terms of drafting your adjustment of status application.
Always remember that you could always submit your petition for a U.S. green card without depending on the perpetrator, even if you married a U.S. citizen or LPR (lawful permanent resident) and who was eventually hostile to you.
You must complete Form I-360 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon your USCIS approval, you may move on to the next step, which involves filing for a green card or “changing your status.”
Since you are considered an “immediate relative” if your partner is a legal U.S citizen, you may file an I-360 and your green card petition with USCIS at the same time. But, USCIS would examine your I-360 then, followed by your adjustment status.
If you prefer to take these procedures independently, make sure that USCIS officially accepts your basic VAWA qualification.
If your partner isn’t a U.S. citizen but is a U.S. green card holder, you need to fill out Form I-360 and wait for it to be approved before applying for a visa. You have to wait two years or more before you continue on your green card (adjustment of status) petition.
Even if USCIS confirms your I-360, you do not have the lawful authority to stay in the country. However, VAWA petitioners are granted “deferred action,” which means you won’t be expelled as you wait for your adjustment case.
A lawyer’s assistance can ease fears, address questions, and will help you throughout the process. An immigration lawyer from Diener Law can help you get that U.S green card!
Document Submission of Adjustment of Status
Once it is completed, you must now submit your application to USCIS. You can find the correct email address on the I-485 page of the USCIS official website. Use registered e-mail or another tracking courier provider to prevent losing your package.
Benefits of an Adjustment of Status
The primary advantage of getting qualified for an adjustment of status (AOS) is that you are on the edge of getting a green card. After USCIS authorizes an AOS request, the immigrant recipient is granted legal residency status in the United States.
However, while their Form I-485 applications are being processed, AOS petitioners are entitled to extra perks like:
- Legal stay
- Advance parole
- Employment authorization
As long as their adjustment applications are ongoing, immigrants with pending AOS petitions are allowed to reside in the United States legally—that is, with no other legitimate status. While it is permissible to let one’s previous non – immigrant status expire. In contrast, an AOS application is processing. We strongly advise petitioners to keep their prior status if their AOS requests are still pending.
This is crucial for petitioners who did not hire a professional immigration counsel and were caught off guard when their adjustment petitions were denied.
The laws covering the Legal stay might get stressful. That’s why you should hire a skilled immigration counsel to guarantee that your papers will not be denied. Talk to our competent Diener immigration lawyers and let us handle your problems.
Once an immigrant applies for adjustment, they can also file for advance parole at the same time. Authorized advance parole permits an immigrant to travel overseas unrestricted while her AOS petition is pending, without needing to withdraw her request, lose any AOS-related perks, or reapply for and get a nonimmigrant visa to re-enter the United States.
Advance parole is unnecessary for some visa users, such as those with H and L visas: H and L visa holders with ongoing I-485s may go beyond the United States without their AOS applications being considered dropped by USCIS.
If you’re having problems with your advance parole, don’t be afraid to speak with our experienced Diener law attorneys to secure your benefits and rights.
Eligible AOS recipients could file for an employment authorization document (EAD), often known as a work permit, in the same way as they can for advance parole. As long as their I-485s are pending, immigrants with EADs can work for any company in the United States.
Seek Experienced Legal Immigration Counsel
Don’t suffer domestic violence a day longer. Our Diener Immigration attorneys are skilled in assisting you in filing your Adjustment of Status, and we’ll treat your case with the utmost confidentiality. So, don’t hesitate to reach our credible North Carolina immigration law firm to arrange a free consultation!