A dimly lit room with two people sitting on the floor near a window covered by sheer curtains. One person, perhaps seeking advice from Lancaster Immigration Lawyers, sits on the left with their head in their hand, appearing distressed. The other sits on the right, facing away, hugging their knees to their chest.

Lancaster County VAWA Lawyers

Have you been the victim of violence from a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse? Even if you do not have a legal immigration status, you can apply for relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). (Yes, this law protects men, too!) We understand that domestic abuse is a particularly difficult and sensitive issue to talk about, and we will do all we can to provide you with a safe space as you learn about your options for immigration relief. Contact the dedicated Lancaster County VAWA lawyers from Lupton Law LLC for more information.

VAWA Lawyers | Here to Protect Your Safety

Here at Lupton Law LLC, our seasoned Lancaster immigration lawyers understand just how frightening it can be to face domestic violence, especially when you’re not of legal status in the country and worry you don’t have anyone to turn to. Fortunately, the law is on your side, and so are we.

What is the Violence Against Women Act?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a landmark piece of legislation passed by the United States Congress in 1994. Its primary aim is to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, particularly when such violence is perpetrated by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or family member.

VAWA provides a pathway for victims, regardless of their gender or immigration status, to seek relief and safety without fear of deportation.

Under VAWA, eligible individuals can file a self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency (a Green Card) independently of their abuser, empowering them to escape abusive situations and build a safer, more stable future in the United States.

How Do I Know if I Qualify?

To qualify for protection under VAWA, you must meet several criteria. Firstly, you must be the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse (this includes recent divorcees, if the abuse was during the marriage),
  • A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, or
  • A U.S. citizen adult son or daughter.

Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have resided with the abuser, possess good moral character, and have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the violence.

Men, women, and children can all be eligible for VAWA protection. It’s important to provide evidence supporting your claim, such as police reports, medical records, court documents, or affidavits from witnesses.

How Do I Apply for Protection Under the VAWA?

Applying for protection under VAWA involves a confidential process that allows you to seek safety and independence from your abuser. Here’s how to start:

  • Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence of the abuse, such as photographs, medical records, police reports, protective orders, or affidavits from friends, family, or professionals who are aware of your situation.
  • Complete the Form I-360: The VAWA self-petition process begins with the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. This form can be filed without the knowledge or consent of the abuser, ensuring your safety and confidentiality.
  • Provide Personal Declaration: Alongside the Form I-360, you should include a detailed personal declaration that describes your relationship with the abuser, the abuse suffered, and any evidence of your abuser’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.
  • Seek Legal Assistance: Due to the complexity of immigration laws and the sensitive nature of domestic violence cases, it’s highly recommended to seek assistance from an experienced VAWA attorney. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, ensure your petition is complete and compelling, and guide you through the process while protecting your rights and confidentiality.
  • Submit the Application: Once your petition is ready, submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There is no filing fee for VAWA self-petitions.
  • Wait for a Decision: After submitting your petition, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. Later, you may also receive a prima facie determination notice, which provides certain benefits while your case is pending. The review process can take time, but being approved for VAWA can provide you with work authorization and eventually lead to lawful permanent residency.

Contact Our Pennsylvania VAWA Lawyers Today

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, Lupton Law LLC stands ready to help. Please contact us for a free consultation about your specific situation. If you are still in danger, consider using a device that cannot be tracked by your spouse. We will keep all communications confidential as we work together toward a positive outcome.

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