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Wait time for Green card if I marry Illegal alien

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  • #16
    In this case is it wise to have her leave the states the same way she came in so that the U.S is completely unaware of her existence?

    Comment


    • #17
      6 months to a year, provided she did not EWI.

      Comment


      • #18
        If she has no records, f.prints, send her back and file K-1 to bring her in.

        Comment


        • #19
          Actually Haiyang, it is more favorable for her that she flew in from China and did not cross the border without inspection (EWI). If she came in through the border, it's more likely she's EWI then she has to go back to her country of origin while your petition is in process. The approval is fast (less than a year)but she she can't come back here in 3 yrs if she's overstayed for more than 180 days but less than a year and in 10 years if she overstayed for more than a year. However, if she flew in it's sure that she's been inspected. Tha Nationality Act waives the violation of authorized period of stay if the illegal alien marries a US Citizen. Once you marry your girl friend, you may immediately file a petition and adjustment of status for her immediately coz petitions for USCs immediately family is current. I suggest that after marrying her, file those forms immediately. I work for a law office that handles immigration processing. If you're interested, you may call our office at 213-383-2105 and we could help you. Initial consultation is free

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          • #20
            You could have her claim to be abused by you after you are married and then file a I-360 self petition as an abused spouse of an American citizen. This way she will skip the condition green card with it's two extra years and go straight to the LPR card. Her application will be given priority processing by the VAWA staff at the Vermont Service Center and you might have her get her card in under 6 months.

            Good luck!

            Comment


            • #21
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by max-one:
              You could have her claim to be abused by you after you are married and then file a I-360 self petition as an abused spouse of an American citizen. This way she will skip the condition green card with it's two extra years and go straight to the LPR card. Her application will be given priority processing by the VAWA staff at the Vermont Service Center and you might have her get her card in under 6 months.

              Good luck! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

              UNLESS????

              She lied On the VAWA form where it States Did you enter the marriage in good faith.


              W V
              A
              A
              Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
              The VAWA Manual
              Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants
              & Immigrant Legal Resource Center
              The VAWA Manual
              2002 Edition
              Written by
              Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
              Immigrant Legal Resource Center
              San Francisco, California
              Funded by a grant from
              The California Endowment
              Copyright 2002
              Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
              564 Market Street, Suite 416
              San Francisco, CA 94104
              415.362.8677
              www.cliniclegal.org
              Immigrant Legal Resource Center
              1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
              San Francisco, CA 94103
              415.255.9499
              www.ilrc.org
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
              This manual is the result of collaboration between two immigration law resource centers:
              the Catholic Legal Immigration Network’s Northern California Regional Office (CLINIC) and
              the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). CLINIC Senior Attorney Evangeline Abriel wrote
              Chapter 12 and, with other CLINIC attorneys, Chapters 5 through 10. Lauren Gilbert, formerly a
              CLINIC staff attorney and now a Visiting Professor at St. Thomas University School of Law in
              Miami, wrote Chapter 13. ILRC staff attorneys Susan Bowyer and Sally Kino****a authored or
              helped complete the first four chapters. We learned a great deal from one another in the process
              and are grateful for the opportunity to have worked together. As noted below, the National
              Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund (NOWLDEF) generously permitted
              its comprehensive review of public benefits for battered immigrants to be used as Chapter 14.
              The California Endowment provided the support to CLINIC and ILRC to produce this
              manual, as well as to work with non-profit and government agencies in California’s Central
              Valley to increase and improve battered immigrants’ access to immigration and other relief and
              services. We are grateful to program officers Lyn Alvarez and Karen Kurasaki for recognizing
              the significant degree to which individual and public health are served by helping battered
              immigrants access legal status and public benefits, including by publication of this practitioner’s
              manual.
              The VAWA Manual describes immigration practice that has significantly benefited from
              the work of many dedicated individuals and organizations, several of whom have graciously
              permitted their excellent materials to be included in this manual.
              AYUDA, Inc. pioneered a comprehensive approach to serving the needs of battered
              immigrant women and their children, including domestic violence intervention and counseling,
              immigration relief, and civil and criminal remedies. AYUDA’s manual, Assisting Battered
              Immigrants and Their Children to File Immigration Claims Under the Violence Against Women
              Act, is based on the organization’s significant experience serving battered immigrants. AYUDA
              has permitted us to include materials they created on domestic violence and civil and criminal
              remedies in the appendix of this manual. We would particularly like to thank Anya Sykes of
              AYUDA for facilitating our use of these materials.
              The National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund (NOWLDEF)
              is the national authority on public benefits for battered immigrant women. NOWLDEF
              permitted us to include three articles in this manual, “Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Working
              With Immigrant Battered Women,” “Steps to Obtain a Social Security Number for an
              Undocumented Immigrant and/or Child,” and “Public Benefits Access for Battered Immigrant
              Women and Children”. The latter article is so comprehensive and definitive that it serves as the
              public benefits chapter. We would particularly like to thank Janice Ka***utan for facilitating
              our use of these materials.
              The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Minnesota Program Development, Inc.
              developed the graphic, “Power and Control Wheel” which was adapted by the Family Violence
              i
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              Prevention Fund to reflect additional issues faced by abused immigrants. That graphic was
              translated into Spanish by the International Institute of the East Bay. These graphics are among
              the most widely used resources in the service of abused immigrants. We would like to thank
              each of these organizations for permission to use them.
              The Migrant Clinicians Network developed guidelines which should be followed by any
              advocate working with battered immigrants, included in “Working With the Abused Farmworker
              Woman,” which they permitted us to include in the Appendix. We extend thanks to Stephanie
              Freedman for arranging for this permission.
              Rosa Fregoso of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles created the guidelines for a client
              declaration included in the Appendix of Chapter 2 as part of a comprehensive VAWA practice
              manual, and has generously permitted its translation by International Institute of the East Bay,
              and use by ILRC and users of this manual.
              Carmen Reyes-Yosiff, an immigration attorney currently in private practice and former
              Managing Attorney of the International Institute of the East Bay (IIEB) and Patricia Aguirre,
              Paralegal at IIEB created materials included in the Appendix to help advocates and clients gather
              documentation, and provided much of the information included in Chapter 2 on working with
              battered immigrant clients.
              Matt Adams from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Granger, Washington
              allowed us to use sample motions to reopen from their office. Lynette Parker, Attorney from the
              East San Jose Community Center allowed us to use sample VAWA Cancellation of Removal
              materials.
              Several leading immigration and domestic violence experts reviewed and contributed to
              the manual. Gail Pendleton, Associate Director of the National Lawyer’s Guild National
              Immigration Project reviewed Chapters 3,4, 6, 7, 10 and 12. Charles Wheeler, CLINIC Director
              of Training and Technical Support, and Lauren Gilbert reviewed Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12.
              Lyn Kirkconnell, Co-Director of Immigration and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities Diocese
              of Stockton, California, reviewed and contributed to Chapter 2.
              Most of these groups and individuals work together in the National Network on Behalf of
              Battered Immigrant Women. Information about joining this network is listed in the Appendix.
              ILRC urges our readers to join this network to work to empower battered immigrant women to
              speak for themselves, and thereby change policies, practices, and attitudes that harm them. In
              addition, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild maintains two
              listserves, “VAWA Updates” and “VAWA Experts” which help advocates understand and share
              information about this dynamic field of immigration practice. Information about subscribing to
              these listserves is included in the Appendix. ILRC is indebted to all of the participants in the
              Network and its listserves for their role in developing and understanding immigration relief for
              battered immigrants.
              ii
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              Table of Contents
              Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
              1.1 Introduction to Immigration Relief for Abused Noncitizen Spouses and Children........... 1-1
              1.2 How to use this Manual...................................................................................................... 1-2
              1.3 Contents of the Manual ...................................................................................................... 1-4
              1.4 Dynamics of Domestic Violence........................................................................................ 1-5
              1.5 Overview of Self-Petitioning Under VAWA: Who is Eligible.......................................... 1-5
              1.6 Overview of Self-Petitioning: Self-Petitioning Requirements........................................... 1-6
              1.7 Overview of Self-Petitioning: Process and Benefits .......................................................... 1-7
              1.8 Other Forms of Immigration Relief for Abused Spouses .................................................. 1-8
              1.9 Civil and Criminal Law Options for Abused Spouses and Children ................................. 1-9
              Chapter 2 INITIAL DISCUSSION WITH CLIENTS
              2.1 Overview of Working with Clients to Complete the Self-Petition .................................... 2-1
              2.2 Tips on Interviewing From Immigration and Domestic Violence Experts ........................ 2-2
              2.3 Using An Interpreter........................................................................................................... 2-6
              2.4 Explaining VAWA to Clients ............................................................................................ 2-7
              2.5 Explaining the VAWA Process........................................................................................ 2-11
              2.6 Talking About Advantages and Disadvantages of Applying for VAWA........................ 2-14
              2.7 Getting The Client Started On Gathering Documentation ............................................... 2-16
              2.8 Next Steps ........................................................................................................................ 2-19
              Chapter 3 REQUIREMENTS FOR SELF-PETITIONING UNDER THE VIOLENCE AGAINST
              WOMEN ACT (VAWA)
              3.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 3-1
              3.2 Who Can Self-Petition Under VAWA............................................................................... 3-3
              3.3 Requirements for VAWA Self-petitioning Spouses .......................................................... 3-3
              3.4 Status of the Abuser – the Abuser is (or was) a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent
              Resident Where to File the Adjustment Application ......................................................... 3-4
              3.5 Marriage Issues .................................................................................................................. 3-5
              3.6 Abuse Issues – the LPR or USC Abused the Self-petitioner During their Marriage ......... 3-8
              3.7 Residence Issues............................................................................................................... 3-10
              3.8 The Self-Petitioner is a Person of Good Moral Character................................................ 3-11
              3.9 VAWA Exceptions for the Bars to Good Moral Character.............................................. 3-13
              3.10 Children of the Self-Petitioner may Qualify for Derivative Status.................................. 3-16
              3.11 Requirements for VAWA Self-Petitioning Children ....................................................... 3-18
              3.12 The Self-Petitioner is the Child of the Abuser ................................................................. 3-18
              3.13 The Abuser is (or was) a LPR or USC ............................................................................. 3-20
              3.14 The LPR or USC abused the Self-Petitioning Child ........................................................ 3-20
              TOC - 1
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              3.15 The self-petitioning child is residing in the U.S. at the time the self-petition is filed, or, if
              filing from abroad, meets certain requirements ............................................................... 3-21
              3.16 The self-petitioning child lives or lived with the abusive LPR or USC parent................ 3-21
              3.17 The Child is a Person of Good Moral Character.............................................................. 3-21
              3.18 Derivative Children .......................................................................................................... 3-22
              Chapter 4 THE VAWA SELF-PETITIONING PROCESS
              4.1 Introduction to the Self-Petitioning Process....................................................................... 4-2
              4.2 Completing the Self-Petition.............................................................................................. 4-2
              4.3 Filling out the I-360............................................................................................................ 4-2
              4.4 Documenting the Requirements for the I-360.................................................................... 4-4
              4.5 A Detailed Cover Letter with an Index of the Documentation .......................................... 4-5
              4.6 Notice of Entry of Appearance by the Attorney or BIA-Accredited Representative......... 4-6
              4.7 INS Filing Fee Amount ...................................................................................................... 4-7
              4.8 The Self-Petitioner’s Detailed Declaration or Affidavit .................................................... 4-7
              4.9 Proof that the Abuser is (or was) a Lawful Permanent Resident or United States Citizen 4-8
              4.10 Proof that the Self-Petitioner is (or was) Married to the LPR or USC............................... 4-9
              4.11 Proof that the Self-Petitioner Suffered Battery or Extreme Cruelty ................................ 4-10
              4.12 Proof that the Marriage or Intended Marriage was in Good Faith ................................... 4-11
              4.13 Proof that the Self-Petitioner Resided with the Abuser ................................................... 4-12
              4.14 Proof that the Self-Petitioner has Good Moral Character ................................................ 4-12
              4.15 Evidence of the Self-Petitioner’s Current Residence....................................................... 4-13
              4.16 Documenting Eligibility for a VAWA Self-Petition for a Child ..................................... 4-14
              4.17 Filing the completed I-360 packet.................................................................................... 4-16
              4.18 Prima Facie Eligibility ..................................................................................................... 4-17
              4.19 Notice of Action/Request for Evidence ........................................................................... 4-18
              4.20 Deferred Action................................................................................................................ 4-18
              4.21 Preference Categories for Family-Based Immigration..................................................... 4-19
              4.22 How the Preference System Works.................................................................................. 4-19
              4.23 Using the State Department Visa Bulletin to Make an Estimate of when
              Your Client can Immigrate............................................................................................... 4-20
              4.24 Employment Authorization .............................................................................................. 4-22
              4.25 Adjustment of Status ........................................................................................................ 4-23
              4.26 Notice of Intent to Deny................................................................................................... 4-24
              4.27 Special Concerns for Advocates who are not Attorneys or Accredited Representatives. 4-25
              Chapter 5 ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS FOR VAWA SELF-PETITIONERS
              5.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 5-1
              5.2 When will a lawful permanent resident visa be available? ................................................ 5-2
              5.3 Adjustment of status for VAWA self-petitioners: Adjustment requirements ................... 5-4
              5.4 When should a self-petitioner who is an immediate relative file an application for
              adjustment of status? .......................................................................................................... 5-5
              TOC - 2
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              5.5 Where to file the adjustment application............................................................................ 5-6
              5.6 Adjustment of status for derivative beneficiaries............................................................... 5-8
              • Applying for adjustment of status .............................................................................. 5-11
              5.7 Completing the Form I-485.............................................................................................. 5-11
              5.8 The contents of the adjustment application packet .......................................................... 5-18
              5.9 Filing fees......................................................................................................................... 5-19
              5.10 Interview process.............................................................................................................. 5-19
              5.11 If adjustment of status is denied....................................................................................... 5-22
              Chapter 6 INADMISSIBILITY GROUNDS AND WAIVERS FOR VAWA SELF-PETITIONERS
              6.1 Overview ............................................................................................................................ 6-2
              6.2 Health-Related Grounds..................................................................................................... 6-3
              6.3 Communicable Diseases .................................................................................................... 6-4
              6.4 Lack of Vaccination ........................................................................................................... 6-5
              6.5 Physical or Mental Disorders ............................................................................................. 6-5
              6.6 Drug Abusers or Addicts.................................................................................................... 6-6
              6.7 Criminal Grounds – Overview ........................................................................................... 6-8
              6.8 Some Definitions: "Conviction,""Admission," and "Sentence"......................................... 6-9
              6.9 Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude .................................................................................. 6-13
              6.10 Multiple Criminal Convictions......................................................................................... 6-16
              6.11 Controlled Substance Violations...................................................................................... 6-16
              6.12 Traffickers in Controlled Substances ............................................................................... 6-17
              6.13 Prostitution and Commercialized Vice ............................................................................ 6-17
              6.14 Immunity from Prosecution ............................................................................................. 6-18
              6.15 Particularly Serious Violations of Religious Freedoms .................................................. 6-18
              6.16 Significant Traffickers in Persons .................................................................................... 6-18
              6.17 Aggravated Felons............................................................................................................ 6-19
              6.18 INA § 212(h) Waivers for Criminal Conduct of Immigrants........................................... 6-19
              6.19 National Security Grounds ............................................................................................... 6-21
              6.20 Public Charge ................................................................................................................... 6-22
              6.21 Previous Immigration Violations -- Overview................................................................. 6-25
              6.22 Aliens Present without Permission or Parole ................................................................... 6-25
              6.23 Failure to Attend Removal Proceedings........................................................................... 6-26
              6.24 Fraud or Willful Misrepresentation.................................................................................. 6-26
              6.25 Waivers for Fraud or Willful Misrepresentation.............................................................. 6-28
              6.26 False Claim of U.S. Citizenship ....................................................................................... 6-28
              6.27 Stowaways....................................................................................................................... 6-29
              6.28 Smugglers and Encouragers of Unlawful Entry............................................................... 6-29
              6.29 Final Civil Document Fraud Order .................................................................................. 6-30
              6.30 Foreign Students............................................................................................................... 6-30
              6.31 Ineligibility for Citizenship .............................................................................................. 6-31
              6.32 Prior Removal Orders or Periods of Unlawful Presence.................................................. 6-31
              6.33 Having Been Previously Removed .................................................................................. 6-31
              6.34 Unlawful Presence Bars ................................................................................................... 6-33
              TOC - 3
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              6.35 Reentering the U.S. Without Authorization ..................................................................... 6-38
              6.36 Miscellaneous Grounds .................................................................................................... 6-39
              6.37 Reinstatement of Previous Removal Order and Consequent Ineligibility for Benefits ... 6-39
              Chapter 7 WAIVERS OF INADMISSIBILITY FOR VAWA SELF-PETITIONERS
              7.1 Overview......................................................................................................................... 7-1
              7.2 The Exercise of Discretion............................................................................................... 7-1
              7.3 Extreme Hardship ............................................................................................................ 7-2
              7.4 Documenting Extreme Hardship...................................................................................... 7-6
              7.5 INA § 212(g) Waivers for Health-Related Grounds........................................................ 7-8
              7.6 § 212(h) Waivers for Criminal Conduct ........................................................................ 7-10
              7.7 INA § 212(i) Waivers for Fraud or Misrepresentation .................................................. 7-12
              7.8 INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(v) Waivers for Unlawful Presence ................................................ 7-13
              7.9 INA § 212(a)(9)(C) Waiver for Reentering the United States without
              Authorization following Immigration Violations .......................................................... 7-14
              7.10 Strategy and Procedure for Waiver Applications .......................................................... 7-15
              7.11 Form I-212 Consent to Reapply for Admission............................................................. 7-16
              Chapter 8 CONSULAR PROCESSING FOR VAWA SELF-PETITIONERS
              8.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 8-1
              8.2 Overview of the Process..................................................................................................... 8-2
              8.3 Which Consulate? .............................................................................................................. 8-5
              8.4 Consular Processing for Derivative Beneficiaries ............................................................. 8-5
              8.5 The Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants................................................... 8-7
              8.6 The Appointment Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants ............................................... 8-8
              8.7 The Consular Interview.................................................................................................... 8-10
              8.8 Review of Visa Denials.................................................................................................... 8-10
              8.9 What Can Happen at the Border?..................................................................................... 8-11
              8.10 Conclusion....................................................................................................................... 8-12
              Chapter 9 CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENCE AND ABUSED IMMIGRANTS
              9.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 9-1
              9.2 Conditional Resident Status ............................................................................................... 9-2
              9.3 Termination of Conditional Status by the INS During the Two-year Conditional Period. 9-6
              9.4 Removing Conditional Status through a Joint Petition or Waiver ..................................... 9-7
              9.5 Petitions and Waivers Filed for Children......................................................................... 9-16
              9.6 INS Interview ................................................................................................................... 9-17
              9.7 Approval of the I-751 Petition ......................................................................................... 9-18
              9.8 Denial and Review in Removal Proceedings ................................................................... 9-19
              9.9 Filing a VAWA Self-Petition in lieu of Proceeding with an Application for a Waiver of the
              Joint Petition Requirement ............................................................................................... 9-19
              9.10 INS Notice Requirements................................................................................................. 9-20
              TOC - 4
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              9.11 Conclusion....................................................................................................................... 9-20
              Chapter 10 CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR ABUSED IMMIGRANTS
              10.1 Introduction................................................................................................................... 10-1
              10.2 A Comparison of VAWA Self-Petitions with VAWA Suspension and
              VAWA Cancellation......................................................................................................10-2
              10.3 The Difference Between VAWA Cancellation and VAWA Suspension ...................... 10-2
              10.4 Persons Eligible to Apply for VAWA Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of
              Deportation .................................................................................................................... 10-4
              10.5 Requirements for Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation – Overview10-5
              10.6 Establishing the Family Relationship ............................................................................ 10-5
              10.7 Battery or Extreme Cruelty............................................................................................ 10-8
              10.8 Three Years Continuous Physical Presence................................................................... 10-9
              10.9 Extreme Hardship ........................................................................................................ 10-10
              10.10 Ineligibility under Certain Inadmissibility and Deportability Bars ............................. 10-13
              10.11 Good Moral Character ................................................................................................. 10-14
              10.12 Applying for VAWA Suspension or Cancellation – The Forum-Proceedings before
              the Immigration Judge ................................................................................................. 10-16
              10.13 Documentation and the “Any Credible Evidence” Standard....................................... 10-18
              10.14 The Contents of the Application .................................................................................. 10-19
              10.15 The Effect of a Grant of VAWA Suspension or Cancellation..................................... 10-23
              10.16 Denials, Appeals, and Motions to Reopen................................................................... 10-25
              Chapter 11 SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS FOR CHILDREN UNDER JUVENILE
              COURT JURISDICTION
              11.1 Introduction and Overview............................................................................................... 11-1
              11.2 Who is Eligible to Become a Permanent Resident Through "Special Immigrant Juvenile"
              Status? ............................................................................................................................ 11-1
              11.3 What Are the Benefits of Applying For Special Immigrant Juvenile Status? ................. 11-5
              11.4 What Are the Risks of Applying? .................................................................................... 11-6
              11.5 Who Should Apply? ......................................................................................................... 11-6
              11.6 What is the Application Procedure?................................................................................. 11-7
              11.7 Talking with the Child Applicant and Child’s Attorney About SIJS............................... 11-8
              11.8 Original Parents, and Maybe Siblings, Cannot Benefit Through Grant of SIJS to Child 11-8
              11.9 Children in INS Actual or Constructive Custody............................................................. 11-9
              Chapter 12 U AND T NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS
              12.1 Overview .......................................................................................................................... 12-1
              12.2 T Nonimmigrant Visas – Requirements for T Nonimmigrant Status .............................. 12-2
              12.3 The Application Process for T Nonimmigrant Visas ....................................................... 12-7
              12.4 Admission of the T-1 Nonimmigrant’s Immediate Family Members............................ 12-10
              12.5 Adjustment of Status from T Nonimmigrant to Lawful Permanent Residence ............. 12-11
              12.6 U Nonimmigrant Visas................................................................................................... 12-12
              12.7 Conclusions .................................................................................................................... 12-17
              TOC - 5
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              Chapter 13 GENDER-BASED ASYLUM
              Introduction
              With an article, written by Lauren Gilbert, entitled “Crossing the Private/Public Divide:
              Asylum Claims Based on Domestic Violence”
              Chapter 14 PUBLIC BENEFITS FOR BATTERED IMMIGRANTS: ELIGIBILITY AND ADVOCACY
              Introduction
              With an article, written by NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, entitled “Public Benefits
              Access for Battered Immigrant Women and Children”
              TOC - 6
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              CHAPTER 1
              INTRODUCTION
              Contents
              1.1 Introduction to Immigration Relief for Abused Noncitizen Spouses and Children........... 1-1
              1.2 How to use this Manual...................................................................................................... 1-2
              1.3 Contents of the Manual ...................................................................................................... 1-4
              1.4 Dynamics of Domestic Violence........................................................................................ 1-5
              1.5 Overview of Self-Petitioning Under VAWA: Who is Eligible.......................................... 1-5
              1.6 Overview of Self-Petitioning: Self-Petitioning Requirements........................................... 1-6
              1.7 Overview of Self-Petitioning: Process and Benefits .......................................................... 1-7
              1.8 Other Forms of Immigration Relief for Abused Spouses .................................................. 1-8
              1.9 Civil and Criminal Law Options for Abused Spouses and Children ................................. 1-9
              § 1.1 INTRODUCTION TO IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR ABUSED NONCITIZEN
              SPOUSES AND CHILDREN
              The Violence Against Women1 Act, enacted in 1994 and amended in 1996 and 2000,
              addresses a widespread problem: some abused noncitizens stay in abusive relationships because
              their abusive spouse holds a vital key to their status in the United States. United States (U.S.)
              immigration law permits U.S. citizens (USCs) and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to petition
              for lawful status for their immediate relatives through a “family visa petition”. Until a noncitizen
              has legal immigration status, she can be deported at any time and cannot get permission to work
              legally. Undocumented noncitizens are ineligible for some important types of government aid
              like Medi-Cal and food stamps, which are critically important to victims of domestic violence to
              free themselves and their children from an abusive spouse and to ensure their health and safety.
              Too often, abusive spouses use the family visa process to control the undocumented
              spouse. Some refuse to file the family visa petition. Others threaten to withdraw the petition or
              even call the INS to deport a spouse who leaves, objects, or calls the police to report the abuse.
              Congress did not want U.S. immigration laws to be used as a weapon in an abuser’s arsenal. So
              it created VAWA to permit victims in this situation to gain lawful status on their own without
              having to rely on abusive spouses to start and complete the process.
              Under VAWA’s major provision, an abused spouse or child of a USC or LPR can selfpetition
              for lawful status in the U.S. Once a self-petition is approved, the self-petitioner will not
              be deported, will be qualified to work legally in the U.S. and receive pretty much the same
              government aid that lawful LPRs do. Under an additional provision, special rules make it easier
              1 Although husbands and fathers are sometimes the victims of domestic violence, the title of the Violence Against
              Women Act reflects the gender of participants in the majority of domestic violence cases. This manual generally
              attempts to avoid gender-specific language, but where such language is used, it similarly uses female pronouns for
              victims, and conversely, male pronouns for abusers.
              1-1
              VAWA Manual
              August 2002
              for an abused spouse or child of a USC or LPR to qualify while in removal proceedings for
              cancellation of removal. Cancellation of removal is only for people who are in immigration
              court and there is a danger that an immigration judge might remove (deport) them from the U.S.
              This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of self-petitioning and cancellation of
              removal, and later chapters explain them in detail. In addition, this chapter introduces, and later
              chapters explain in detail, other types of immigration relief, including asylum, U and T visas, and
              Special Immigrant Juvenile Status that may also benefit some abused non-citizens.
              While VAWA can provide critically important benefits that may help many abused
              noncitizens escape abuse, unless potential beneficiaries hear about it, particularly from someone
              they trust, they cannot apply and get the benefits they need. People who are victims of domestic
              violence, and who may not have immigration documents, are very hard to reach out to. Staff of
              government agencies and nonprofits that work with immigrants can be extremely effective at
              identifying potential applicants, providing them with information and referrals, and helping them
              gather the documentation they need to apply. It may be useful to emphasize to potential
              beneficiaries that VAWA was improved in 2000, so that now is a good time to consider
              applying. The Appendix to this manual contains outreach flyers, in English and Spanish, that
              highlight VAWA’s main benefits and requirements. We strongly encourage any agency that
              serves immigrants or potential victims of domestic violence to distribute these flyers to potential
              VAWA beneficiaries. Feel free to add local information and to put the information on the flyers
              on your own letterhead.
              However, it is also important to recognize that deciding whether to apply for relief under
              VAWA is completely up to the potential applicant. Some people who may qualify for
              immigration relief under VAWA may choose not to do so. Some people may feel that the
              application process is too complex and requires them to relive what they have been through.
              Others may be concerned that applying under VAWA will cause their abusers to be arrested or
              deported, or that they will be criticized by their families or communities for going public about
              the abuse. People’s concerns are as varied as the effects of domestic violence. Although a
              friend, social worker or other advocate may feel that it is essential that an immigrant victim of
              domestic violence apply for relief under VAWA, that helper must respect the decision of the
              domestic violence victim herself.
              § 1.2 HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL
              This manual is designed for staff of non-profits and government agencies, shelters, law
              enforcement agencies, schools, social service agencies, and health care providers as well as
              immigration lawyers and paralegals. Private attorneys handling VAWA cases may also find this
              manual useful. This manual guides you through the entire process of handling an immigration
              case with a battered noncitizen from the first meeting with a potential VAWA applicant through
              the completion and filing of the appropriate application, the appeal (if necessary), and adjustment
              of status to lawful permanent residence.
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              Because clients’ contributions are so essential to the success of a VAWA case, this
              manual is not simply a discussion of legal requirements and procedures. It also includes ideas
              about how to help clients understand the nature and scope of domestic violence, the legal
              requirements, and ways in which they can help make their cases as strong as possible. Because
              potential beneficiaries of VAWA relief face at least two sets of major challenges -- as
              undocumented immigrants and as victims of domestic violence – this manual contains significant
              information about special considerations involved in working with clients to both respect their
              difficult circumstances and involve them as much as possible in the preparation of their cases.
              Please see particularly the discussion of working with clients in Chapter 2.
              Supporting a client’s involvement in the preparation of her case is not just more efficient
              for a legal worker. The client’s active and informed participation actually helps build a stronger
              case. As described in Chapter 2, the most important document in a VAWA case is the
              declaration of the applicant. A client who understands the requirements and process can create a
              more effective declaration. She can help identify people who can write supporting letters and
              declarations and communicate relevant information to them, including shelter workers, domestic
              violence counselors and acquaintances with knowledge of her circumstances. Finally, as
              described in depth in Chapter 2, it is vital that people who work with victims of domestic
              develop trusting relationships with them. It is therefore important not to keep clients in the dark
              about the rules and procedures that may have a profound impact on them and the considerations
              they should take into account in deciding whether to apply for VAWA relief.
              The appendix to this manual, therefore, contains materials in English and Spanish that
              facilitate VAWA applicants’ participation in their cases, including descriptions of VAWA’s
              requirements and process, and checklists of documents that a client can gather. We encourage
              you to use these appendices as much as possible. Feel free to copy them on to your own
              letterhead and make any changes you feel are necessary.
              Much of this manual is dedicated to presenting and discussing the basic legal
              requirements for VAWA relief. Some of the legal requirements are clear cut and probably
              inflexible. Others are murky, not clearly defined, and probably flexible. VAWA advocates
              report that staff of the INS office in Vermont that handles VAWA self-petitioning cases is well
              trained and fair. However, some VAWA policy is set at other levels of INS, and local INS
              offices handle VAWA cases at later stages, and even the Vermont office sometimes makes
              mistakes. We strongly encourage you to investigate challenging the INS’s interpretation of any
              legal requirement that is not grounded in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). ILRC’s
              legal staff would be happy to discuss any ideas you have about INS interpretations or conduct
              that you think is unfair or wrong.
              Although we have thoroughly researched the legal requirements presented in this manual
              you should not use it as a substitute for your own research and knowledge. Immigration law
              changes constantly and can be complex. Further research must be done on issues not discussed
              in this manual or new developments in the field. We recommend that advocates regularly
              consult the website of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
              (NIPNLG) at www.nationalimmigrationproject.org (click on Domestic Violence) for information
              on new developments in VAWA law and procedure. We also recommend that advocates
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              subscribe to the "VAWA Updates" listserve. To do so, send an e-mail to Sandy Lin at
              sandy@nationalimmigrationproject.org.
              §1.3 CONTENTS OF THE MANUAL
              This manual contains 14 chapters and an extensive appendix. The following subjects are
              covered in detail:
              • Chapter 2 discusses issues involved in working with immigrants who are battered, and
              includes a sample explanation of VAWA’s requirements and process in terms
              understandable to clients.
              • Chapter 3 provides a detailed description of the legal requirements for self-petitioning
              under VAWA.
              • Chapter 4 describes the self-petitioning process, including the contents of the application
              packet and the self-petitioning timeline.
              • Chapter 5 describes “adjustment of status,” the process through which someone with an
              approved immigrant visa (like an approved VAWA self-petitioner) becomes a LPR, and
              which takes place in the U.S.
              • Chapter 6 details the Immigration and Nationality Act’s “grounds of inadmissibility,” a
              list of conditions and conduct which can prevent an immigrant, including a VAWA selfpetitioner,
              from getting LPR status.
              • Chapter 7 discusses waivers of the grounds of inadmissibility available to VAWA selfpetitioners
              and other battered immigrants.
              • Chapter 8 describes “Consular processing,” the process outside of the U.S. through which
              someone with an approved immigrant visa (like an approved VAWA self-petitioner)
              becomes a LPR.
              • Chapter 9 describes the process whereby a battered Conditional Resident (a person who
              has immigrated through a spouse within two years of having married that spouse) can
              become a LPR without the cooperation of the abusive spouse.
              • Chapter 10 details Cancellation of Removal, the procedure for domestic violence victims
              in deportation proceedings to apply for LPR status.
              • Chapter 11 describes Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which permits abused, neglected
              and abandoned children who are dependents of U.S or state juvenile courts or agencies to
              apply for LPR status.
              • Chapter 12 discusses “U” non-immigrant visas, available for certain victims of crime, and
              “T” non-immigrant visas for victims of trafficking in persons.
              • Chapter 13 discusses asylum law and the Convention Against Torture as they apply to
              people who have been persecuted on the basis of their gender, and related grounds.
              • Chapter 14 describes the public benefits, like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
              and Food Stamps, that are available to some abused noncitizens.
              The appendix to this manual includes many items an advocate needs to educate potential
              clients about immigration relief for battered immigrants and help a client submit an effective
              application for immigration relief, including application forms, model applications and
              documentation, copies of INS notices, statutes, and INS memoranda interpreting VAWA (see
              Index of Appendices). It also includes excellent materials on important issues not discussed in
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              August 2002
              detail in the text of the manual, including the dynamics of domestic violence, family and
              criminal law remedies for victims of domestic violence, and helping clients develop safety plans.
              § 1.4 THE DYNAMICS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
              According to experts, domestic violence manifests itself in a continuous cycle of three
              stages: tension building, acute or abusive, and honeymoon. Children, whether directly abused or
              indirectly as witnesses, are profoundly impacted by domestic violence. And while domestic
              violence crosses all race, class and cultural lines, immigrants face more, and higher hurdles than
              other domestic violence victims in getting the services and resources they need to escape the
              violence. Chapter 2 includes useful information about interviewing, explaining VAWA to, and
              working on VAWA cases with clients who have been abused. Appendices 4 through 8 include
              comprehensive materials on the nature of domestic abuse and working with abused clients.2 We
              urge you to thoroughly review these materials so that you can:
              • Refer clients to appropriate services,
              • Understand the different challenges they will face working with clients,
              • Adequately assess and demonstrate to the INS the domestic violence experienced by
              the client.
              • Ensure the safety and confidentiality of your clients and their files
              • Develop safety plans with clients
              Advocates should also research and develop a list of services and range of legal options
              available to domestic violence victims in their communities. Please see list of resources at
              Appendix 14.
              § 1.5 OVERVIEW OF SELF-PETITIONING UNDER VAWA: WHO IS ELIGIBLE
              The major limiting factor for VAWA self-petitioning is that the self-petitioner must have
              been abused by a USC or LPR (green card-holder) spouse or parent. This limitation is the result
              of Congress’s intent to remove an abuser’s power over immigration status – a power that
              undocumented abusers do not have. The following relatives of those abusers are eligible to selfpetition
              (if they also meet the self-petitioning requirements described below in § 1.6):
              1. An abused spouse of a USC or LPR;3
              2. An abused “intended” spouse of a USC or LPR, whose good faith marriage to the abuser
              was not legally valid due to bigamy by the abusing spouse;4
              3. An abused child of a USC or LPR (a “child” is defined as unmarried and under 21 years
              of age);5
              2 Appendix materials reprinted with permission of AYUDA, Inc., National Organization for Women Legal Defense
              and Education Fund and the Migrant Clinician’s Network.
              3 INA § 204(a)(1)(A)(iii) (spouse of USC) and INA § 204(a)(1)(B)(ii) (spouse of LPR).
              4 INA § 101(50); Id.
              5 INA § 204(a)(1)(A)(iv) (child of USC) and INA § 204 (a)(1)(B)(iii) (child of LPR).
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              August 2002
              4. A non-abused spouse of a USC or LPR whose child is abused.6
              Note: A non-abused child of an abused spouse or child qualifies for VAWA if he is listed on the
              abused spouse or child’s self-petition.7
              Someone who fits into one of these categories, and hopes to self-petition under VAWA,
              is called a “VAWA self-petitioner.” See Chapter 3 for an in-depth discussion of who qualifies
              for VAWA self-petitioning.
              § 1.6 OVERVIEW OF SELF-PETITIONING: SELF-PETITIONING REQUIREMENTS
              A person who qualifies as a spouse or child according to the definitions listed above in §
              1.5 must also meet all of the following requirements. See Chapter 3 for an in-depth discussion
              of the requirements for VAWA self-petitioning.
              1. The self-petitioner’s spouse abused the self-petitioner (or her child) during the marriage (in
              the case of a child self-petitioner, the abuse could have happened at any time.)8 Note: The
              self-petitioner does not have to be married to the abuser at the time of filing the
              USC and Legal, Honest Immigrant Alike Must Fight Against Those That Deceive and Disrupt A Place Of Desirability! All Are Victims of Fraud, Both USC and Honest Immigrant Alike! The bad can and does make it more difficult for the good! Be careful who y

              Comment


              • #22
                If she did in fact enter illegally - no overstay - she needs an I-601 waiver which involves leaving the country at the end of the process for a consular interview and awaiting the year+ it takes for them to process and review the case. This is what I and my husband had to do - but through Mexico which has a pilot program and some cases can be approved much more quickly. If she did in fact overstay it would be an entirely different in-country process. How long it takes is really not that important as long as she is approved. And you should really find out which it is because it makes a huge difference. Before you go around asking for advice that is something you need to know..

                The other forum that was recommended to you by Glu (www.immigrate2us.net) is an excellent place for all spousal processing.

                Comment

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