Skilled Guidance with U Visas and VAWA Petitions in Illinois
DuPage County Immigration Service Attorneys
Immigrants who are victims of abuse or serious crimes often fail to report such incidents for fear of deportation/removal. Unfortunately, this causes numerous crimes to go unreported each year. For those in this situation, there is relief available under immigration law. U visas are available for victims of certain crimes, while victims of domestic violence may petition for relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). U visas and VAWA petitions can be complicated, and it is best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to review your options.
At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, we have extensive experience with U visas, VAWA petitions, and other types of immigration matters in Chicago and throughout Northern Illinois. Our award-winning lawyers frequently represent clients before USCIS and ICE, and we have in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of these agencies. We understand that when you have been abused or the victim of a crime and worried about your immigration status, you may not know where to turn for help. We take the time to thoroughly examine your case and identify the best options for relief. Our attorneys are compassionate and offer skilled guidance to help you through this difficult time.
U Visa Requirements
The U visa is a nonimmigrant visa created to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute certain serious crimes (such as murder, rape, torture, human trafficking and domestic violence) while providing protection for non-U.S. citizens who are victims. To be eligible, the following requirements must be met:
- The victim has suffered physical or mental abuse resulting from certain criminal activity that occurred in the U.S. and/or violated U.S. laws;
- The victim possesses information about said criminal activity; and
- The victim has been helpful and/or is likely to be helpful in investigating and prosecuting the crime.
U visas are capped at 10,000 issued each fiscal year. If the cap is reached, eligible petitioners are placed on a waiting list, granted deferred action and are able to apply for work authorization while waiting.
VAWA Petition Requirements
Victims of domestic abuse, such as battered spouses and certain battered children and battered parents may petition for immigration relief under VAWA. To be eligible, you must show good moral character and have a qualifying relative who is a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) who has perpetrated the abuse. If applying as a battered spouse, you must have entered into your marriage in good faith and have lived together at some point. Also, if divorced, you must demonstrate a connection between the divorce and the abuse you suffered. If you are living with a partner and not yet married and/or your abuser is not a U.S. Citizen or LPR, VAWA relief is not available.There are some cases in which a victim could apply for either a U visa or VAWA relief. Since there are annual caps on U visas and no limits on annual VAWA petitions and both provide a path to legal permanent resident status, a VAWA petition is often the better option in such cases. At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, we put our in-depth experience to work to help clients determine the best immigration relief for their specific circumstance. For a free consultation with one of our skilled Illinois immigration attorneys, contact our office today at 630-932-9100630-932-9100.