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As a victim of violence, can you self-petition for a green card?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2021 | Permanent Residency/Green Cards

Experiencing violence can shatter a woman’s feelings of self-worth and make her wonder how she ended up in this situation. Unfortunately, numerous women feel as if they have no escape from their abusers, especially if they are an immigrant in the United States. They may feel compelled to stay with their abusers because they have nowhere else to go, do not speak English well or worry that they will face deportation if they go to the police.

You may have experienced this situation yourself, but now, you are ready to help yourself gain freedom from that abuse. Part of your journey may now involve applying for lawful permanent residency under the Violence Against Women Act.

Self-petitioning

Though the factors that led you to this point have undoubtedly been difficult, you may have a bright side to your ordeal. The violent acts committed against you may qualify you to self-petition for a green card if the abuser was a U.S. citizen who was your spouse, former spouse, son, daughter or parent, or if the abuser was a lawful permanent resident who was your spouse, former spouse or parent.

Other eligibility requirements include the following:

  • You correctly file the appropriate form to adjust your immigration status. In this case, it would be Form I-485.
  • An immigrant visa is available at the time you file the form and at the time the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services make a decision regarding your petition.
  • You physically reside in the United States when you file the form.
  • You are eligible for an immigrant visa.
  • You have admissibility to the United States or can receive a waiver for inadmissibility.

Understandably, this situation is immensely stressful for you. You want to escape the violence you have endured but likely feel intimidated by the immigration process involved and getting away from your abuser in general. Fortunately, you do not have to do this alone.

Getting help

Filing the proper forms, ensuring your eligibility and more can be difficult in this already confusing and stressful situation. As a result, you may want to have someone to help you through it. If so, you may want to contact a Colorado immigration law attorney who could assess your circumstances, determine whether you may qualify to self-petition for a green card and help you file the necessary forms.