Immigrants often obtain a green card through sponsorship from a family member or employer. This sponsor supports the immigrant’s application to reside in the United States on a permanent or long-term basis. However, some circumstances and conditions allow for exceptions to this process. If you are the victim of domestic violence in the United States and you aren’t a US citizen or already a permanent resident, you may be eligible to file your application for what is known as a “domestic violence green card”.
In a provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), victims of domestic violence can self-petition for a green card without a U.S. sponsor. Furthermore, victims who are not currently residing in the United States may file for their green card if they were abused by a government employee or member of the uniformed services while they were in the country. Finally, illegal immigrants suffering from domestic abuse may be eligible to receive protection from the government if they qualify for a particular type of nonimmigrant visa through the Immigration & Naturalization Service called a U Visa.
Benefits of a “Domestic Violence Green Card”
- Permanent residency in the United States provided you do not commit a legal offense that could lead to your removal from the country.
- The opportunity to work in the occupation of your choosing. You can even start your own business!
- Legal protection at the local, state, and federal level.
- Freedom to enter and leave the country at will, as long as you are carrying your green card.
- The chance to apply for federal financial aid for higher education, along with access to “in-state” and “resident” tuition rates.
- Access to Social Security benefits.
- Ability to sponsor a green card application for your spouse or children.
- Eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
When it comes to domestic violence green cards, there are a variety of requirements and processes potential filers should be familiar with before applying. The lists below provide general outlines and explanations regarding eligibility, but we recommend working closely with an immigration attorney to ensure you adhere to all INS regulations. INS determines eligibility for a domestic violence green card by the victim’s relationship with their abuser.
To self-petition for a green card, an applicant must be related to their abuser in one of the following ways:
Along with each of these conditions comes a set of specific eligibility requirements. To find out more, visit USCIS online or set up a consultation with a reputable immigration lawyer. The Law Office of Nathan Christensen PC serves individuals in the Dallas area and beyond. We would love to meet with you to discuss your needs regarding immigration services. Visit us online or give our office a call today (972) 497-1017.