Why Special Visas for Immigrants?
Immigrants are especially vulnerable to domestic violence because they may not speak or write English, and thus, may not understand the laws of the United States.
In addition, they are often on their own, separated from family and friends with no resources or support. This is why, many immigrants are afraid to report domestic violence to the authorities or to seek other assistance. This fear causes many immigrants to remain in abusive relationships to their detriment.
If you or someone you know is being abused call 911 and consult with an attorney who is an expert on immigration rights.
What Are My Legal Rights as an Immigrant?
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005(IMBRA) mandates that the U.S. government offer foreign fiancé(e)s and spouses immigrating to the United States information about their legal rights. This is in the form of a pamphlet.
In addition, all persons in this country, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, are assured basic protections against domestic violence under both civil and criminal law.
In America, any crime victim, regardless of immigration or citizenship standing, can call the police for help or obtain a protection order without fear of being deported.
What Are the Domestic Violence Visas Called?
U.S. immigration law affords two possible visas allowing victims of domestic violence to stay in or even come to the U.S. and testify or otherwise assist in law-enforcement efforts concerning their case. They are the“I-918 U” Petition Visa for victims of serious crimes who are not yet citizensand the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petition.
This is a self-petition for abused spouses and certain parents and children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Both provide a track to U.S. permanent residence (a green card).
What Else is Required to Qualify for These Visas?
Incidentally, it is not enough to claim that you have been a victim of domestic violenceto obtain a U visa. You also will need to provide a “certificate of helpfulness” from a suitable government organization meaning you have given useful information about the domestic violence case or other criminal activity.
Then you have to prove you have suffered mental or physical abuse by an American citizen. The VAWA and I-918 U visa are the best resources for battered and abused spouses (and certain parents and children) to obtain a green card without the collaboration of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative who is abusing them. Men and women may petition for both these visas.
As you can see, obtaining one of these visas is an extremely complex endeaver.
If you are still not sure of the process, call us now to speak with an expert on this type of law. Protect yourself and your rights without fear of deportation.