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Self-Petitioning Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 

Self-Petitioning Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 

If you are attempting to get a green card or a legal permanent resident seeking an adjustment in status, you generally need a sponsor. Most visas are sponsored by employers, family members, spouses, or fiances. However, sometimes an immigrant’s sponsor will abuse their power in order to hide or escape liability for abuse, domestic violence, stalking, or other crimes. For instance, a spouse who is sponsoring his wife may abuse her and threaten to withdraw as her sponsor if she reports him, or an employer may sexually assault an employee but threaten to withdraw or report her to the IRS alleging bad faith if she presses charges. These situations may make someone feel depressed and hopeless, but there are ways to overcome such adversity, and a Chicago immigration attorney can help. 

What to Do if Your Sponsor is Abusing You or Threatening Harm

If your immigration sponsor is abusing you, causing you harm, or in any other way violating the terms of the Violence Against Women Act, you have the ability to self-petition. This means that you will be allowed to proceed with the green card application process without a sponsor. The first step is reporting the abuse or incidents of harm so that you have a record of them. If you are scared to do this, talk to an attorney first. An attorney can also help you file form I-485 as well as a VAWA Self-Petition Form and all other necessary documents. If your VAWA Self-Petition Form is approved you will receive a valid immigrant visa which allows you to become or continue being a lawful permanent resident in the United States. 

Am I Eligible to Self-Petition Under VAWA?

In order to be eligible to self-petition under VAWA you must be physically present in the United States and eligible to receive an immigrant visa, with no bars to adjustment of status. You can submit your self-petition application without the knowledge of your sponsor or other family members. A lawyer can advise you on the process and on what is required based on whether your application is currently pending or if you have yet to file it. 

Should I Get an Immigration Attorney?

If complications have come up in your journey to get a green card or immigrant visa, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. With enough time and notice, it may be possible for your attorney to help develop a plan to keep you in the country as a legal citizen. Once they review the facts of your case, they may find a basis for you to file independently or suggest other plans of action. Immigration processes can be difficult to figure out, and even simple errors can result in costly delays. It is best to invest in an attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that you will avoid unnecessary roadblocks and expenses.  

Schedule a Consultation with Sverdloff Law Group

If you are applying for a green card and complications have arisen with your sponsor or you have questions about the process, the experienced immigration attorneys at Sverdloff Law Group in Chicago, IL are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

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