How domestic abuse victims can apply for a green card

Immigrants in New Jersey have multiple ways to become permanent residents. If you’re a domestic violence victim, you might qualify for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). To apply for a green card, you’ll have to submit a petition to the immigration authorities.

How do you apply for a green card under VAWA?

Under U.S. immigration law, you can apply for a green card under VAWA if your abuser is a spouse, parent or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You don’t have to notify your abuser if you file a petition. An immigration attorney could help you file a petition and keep yourself safe during this challenging time.

To apply, you’ll need to submit Form I-185, copies of your IDs, a copy of your birth certificate, pictures of yourself, copies of passport pages and other relevant documents. To protect your safety, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can’t share information about your application with most third parties. They also can’t accept information from your abuser and make a decision based on the information that your abuser gave them.

Are you thinking about applying for a green card?

When you’re trying to navigate through the immigration system and escape an abusive relationship at the same time, it’s best to hire an attorney. Your attorney could help you petition for a green card and include all the required documentation so you can become a permanent resident.

If you experience any trouble, your attorney could explain why your application was rejected and help you submit it again. Later on, your attorney could help you become an official U.S. citizen and go through the naturalization process. Note that you will have to renounce your citizenship in other countries if you decide to become a U.S. citizen.

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