Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Attorneys in Woburn, Massachusetts
It’s hard enough immigrating to a new country and trying to start a brand new life for you and your family. Even under the very best circumstances, you know there’s a difficult yet rewarding road ahead of you. But, for some immigrants who are experiencing violence or abuse within their homes, this can be especially hard.
Thankfully, there are options for immigrants who are victims of abuse to apply for a special green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). If you’d like to learn more about this program and how you can request an adjustment of status, call us at Corbaci Law, P.C. immediately. We’re located in Woburn, Massachusetts, but can help anyone in the area, including those in Boston, Marlborough, and Framingham.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that helps victims of domestic abuse find help to escape their abusers. The law also helps any minor children that may be in the household with you or who are being abused themselves. Although the act specifically names “women,” the law can be used to protect anyone, regardless of sex, who is the victim of sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or dating violence. This law also protects immigrants, but there are certain restrictions that apply.
Eligibility for a Green Card Under VAWA
In the case of undocumented immigrants, this law allows victims of abuse to apply for a green card based on the abuse for themselves and any minor children. However, the law specifically states that the violence must have been perpetrated by an immediate family member (spouse or former spouse, child, or parent) and this person must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. You also have to physically be in the United States when you file a request under the VAWA, and an immigrant visa must be immediately available to you when you apply.
If you think you qualify for protection under the VAWA, you will be able to self-petition for green card status on your own, and this can be done by completing Form I-485. You will have to submit various forms of documentation with this form, such as two passport photos, copies of your current identity documents and birth certificate, some medical and vaccination records, and copies of previous customs and immigration documents.
Although you can do this on your own, it’s highly recommended that you work with an immigration attorney who can ensure you have the form filled out correctly, that you meet all eligibility requirements, and that you’ve submitted enough documentation to better your chances of approval. If, for any reason, your application is denied, we can help you understand the reason for this and make any corrections that are needed to reapply and help you stay safe.
Confidentiality Under VAWA
Importantly, many victims of domestic violence who are seeking a green card under the VAWA are concerned that their abusive spouse will find out about this and will either try to stop them or inflict more harm. When you file as a self-petitioner for yourself and any children, your spouse (or another abusive family member) will not be notified and they do not have to approve your application.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Attorneys Serving Woburn, Massachusetts
If you’re currently living in the United States in the Woburn, Massachusetts, area and would like to know more about your options for fleeing an abusive relationship, call us at Corbaci Law, P.C. today. We have intimate knowledge of federal immigration law and how it pertains to victims of domestic violence and we can help you. Reach out to schedule an appointment.