What are the top 12 VAWA secrets that other lawyers will not tell you about? You're about to watch some of the most important VAWA information that I have ever said on this channel. To make this video easier to use, I've split it up into different sections, and as an additional bonus, I've included an additional option that you might qualify for in addition to VAWA, so be sure to watch until the end.
For those of you who have not entered the United States with permission across the border, you have probably already spoken to multiple lawyers by this time, and you have probably been told that you have to leave the country in order to get a green card, is this true? And the answer is: it is not necessarily true.
It is not necessarily required that you leave the country every single time in order for you to get your green card.
Number one, if you have an illegal entry and you want to fix your status without leaving the United States, and you are married to a US citizen, if your US citizen has ever given you lots of problems during your marriage if they've been controlling, if they've been jealous, if they have threatened you with deportation, if they go through your phone and look to see where you are, if they ever threaten to take your children away from you and not let you have custody, you may be eligible for something called a VAWA self petition.
A VAWA self petition is for spouses of US citizens for spouses of green card holders who have been hurt in their marriage and you might be thinking that, "Oh aguada, this is not malrato." Perro. These are the sort of things that are actually very harmful that the law allows us to file an application to ask for a green card for you and for a work permit and for a traveled document. And the beauty of this is that you don't need to leave the United States in order to get your papers fixed through this case.
Number Two, if you have an adult US citizen child and your child is rebellious, they talk back to you. They curse you out, they have problems with drugs or with alcohol, they never want to listen to you. They keep taking your money or maybe force you to pay for things that you can't really afford. And they say things to you like you shouldn't have ever come here. "You should go back to your country where you belong," your child is saying these sorts of things and you have an illegal entry. Then you may also be eligible for VAWA.
What are the ways that you can prove that you have suffered abuse in your marriage for a US citizen? How can you actually prove these things when nobody has ever seen you go through what you've gone through? No one may have witnessed it, or you think that it is simply not something that an immigration officer will believe. Let's talk about this mainly to dispel the myth that is perpetuated by a lot of lawyers.
This is something that a lot of lawyers also say to people who want to file for VAWA which ends up discouraging them from filing for VAWA. And the myth is that you need to have proof of physical abuse or a police report or a medical report you need to have pictures. The myth is that you cannot win your VAWA case without these things and it is simply not true for two main reasons: For one, underneath VAWA you can prove either what is called extreme cruelty or battery.
Extreme cruelty is the emotional abuse that you would suffer as an immigrant so you can show extreme cruelty or battery so you can't by logic, have a medical report or police report if somebody is only psychologically abusing you. But the second thing is the main source of evidence that can help you win your VAWA case is actually you and you can have all the evidence in the world. But if you don't have a good affidavit to support what happened, to explain what happened in your marriage, then your case will not be successful.
So the main source of evidence that you need in your VAWA case is actually you and you need to have a well written, well explained, affidavit, which is what we help our clients with. With the the majority of our work, we help craft really, really strong affidavits so that an immigration officer can see it and at first glance not have any questions about what happened.
So I don't want you to be worried that you don't have enough evidence in your VAWA case. You probably have a lot more than you think.
If you want to file for VAWA, it doesn't matter to me when you get divorced, you just have to make sure we file your VAWA application within two years of the divorce date. Some people decide to do the divorce before VAWA, but we don't need that and obviously you should do what is best for you if you want to get divorced after calling the VAWA. I think it's generally sometimes a little bit better to wait just a little bit of time, but you should do what is best for you.
Some lawyers will tell you not to file for divorce at all until your whole VAWA case is finished. It takes like three years and why should you stay trapped in this sort of a marriage just because of that?
Now one thing that you're not allowed to do if you're filing for VAWA is to get remarried. If you are filing an I-360 VAWA application and you get remarried to somebody then you are no longer eligible for VAWA.
Are you afraid that you are going to be interviewed for your VAWA case? And if you do receive a VAWA interview, what does that mean and what will they ask you? So let's dive right into this topic because this is a fear that holds many people back from filing a VAWA case.
It's because you are afraid of being interviewed for your VAWA and talk about what happened. You don't want to have to re-live that trauma and also you might be very, very worried about what you say in your affidavit. And you might be under the impression that you have to know your affidavit word by word and that if you get one thing different that your case will be denied.
First of all, let's dispel a myth. There is no interview for a VAWA case. That's right, if you have filed an I-360 application based upon being the spouse of a US citizen or the spouse of a Green Card Holder, or the parent of a US citizen who has physically or emotionally hurt you, you will not be interviewed about this at all. That is because there is only one location inside the United States that has the permission or the authority to decide whether you have suffered extreme cruelty or battery. And that is the Vermont Service Center, which has specially trained Immigration officers trained on the nuances of the power and control dynamic that I have discussed with you all so that they have the best way to decide whether you do qualify for this case.
So number one, there is never an interview on the abuse. Anything you say in the affidavit regarding the abuse is not something that the Immigration officer is allowed to ask you at an interview. However, you can have an interview on the actual I-485 Green Card portion of your case.
Now, what is the purpose of the I-485 Green Card interview? This is the part that actually decides whether you were eligible to receive a Green Card. But when your I-485 is filed, because of an I-360 VAWA application, the VAWA portion of your case which is about the abuse, the suffering, the hardship that you have encountered during your relationship with your US citizen relative. That is something that is decided before you even go to your I-485 interview.
That is why you will always need to receive the approval of your I-360 before you even get scheduled for your I-485 interview during the I-485 interview. That is when they will ask you questions about your criminal history, your entries and exits, and anything else that might be a problem to get a Green Card. But not the VAWA.
Is what you're going through in your marriage to a US citizen bad enough to get you approved for a Green Card through VAWA? The reason why I'm able to talk about this confidently is because we have extensive experience and expertise in this area and I definitely have gotten things approved that other attorneys have gotten, denied or declined to take.
The reason why a lot of attorneys might not want to take your case is because their view of extreme cruelty and their view of domestic violence is actually kind of narrow, when in reality extreme cruelty is actually a lot broader than you might realize.
So what is extreme cruelty? What I want you to think about is this, in your life do you feel like your husband or your wife keeps taking these actions to make you feel bad, to make you feel like you cannot have control over certain aspects of your life? Maybe you feel like you don't have any control over any part of your life. You might stop doing things or you might start doing things because you don't want to make your partner upset, or you're trying to keep them happy and keep them in the marriage, then that is the number one sign that I want you to look for.
Emotional abuse can be through many things like digital abuse, is your husband or your wife going through your phone all the time? Are they unlocking your phone, asking for passwords? Checking to see who you talk to. Going through Instagram to see who you DM'd? Are they constantly tracking you on your device? Are they tracking your car? Do they call you 10 - 20 times in a row?
Let's just say you're at work and they know that you're at work, yet they keep calling you to seeing where you are. These are actually signs of digital abuse and what it shows is that they keep trying to control where you are and they don't want you to be certain places or out at certain times.
Also, if your spouse doesn't want you to talk to certain people, maybe they don't like your mother or your father or they say your sister's not a good influence or your best friend is not a good person to be around. I want you to watch out for these things because usually these are little signs that they're trying to isolate you. So basically you're losing freedom and control over who you can associate with.
Also, there are some more serious things like, did your spouse start getting mad at you? Do they blow up and start cursing you, start calling you names? Do they insult you in front of your friends, families or the public or your coworkers? If they are having fights with you in public, these are some of the things that can also be signs of extreme cruelty.
Has your spouse ever driven the car recklessly or drunk when you're in it? You're having a fight and you get the car with your spouse and they start swerving in and out of traffic trying to scare you. That's a sign of extreme cruelty, you know why? Because they're trying to scare you.
And if you find yourself in your marriage feeling like you are caving into your spouse or giving into your spouse's demands because you're afraid of the consequences, sometimes even you're afraid that if you don't do what they say then they're going to never help you with your green card or that they will cancel your green card application or withdraw it, these are signs that you should give us a call.
Explore what your options are because if you're still sitting there to date with no green card with no work card with no travel document, you haven't traveled back home for 30 years to see your family, I want you to understand that there are options out there.
For those of you who have a final order of removal and you're considering filing for VAWA even though you have a final order of removal, you are suffering in your marriage or your child is actually hurting you, even if you have a final order of removal, you should still file for VAWA. Let me share with you a story from today.
We have a client who I have been helping for about 7-8 years. She had an order of removal that she received from the 90's from many many years ago. And I'd been helping her go to these check-ins for the past many years. But then I asked her recently, "Hey, what's going on with your adult US citizen child? Are they hurting you? Do they ever cause you any problems?" And I found out that yes. My client's 21 year old son had been giving her lots of problems, had been threatening her and was sometimes physical.
Even so, we filed for VAWA for our client and it got approved. And this morning she you know, she has an order of removal already. And so she's been living here underneath a order of supervision for the past many years. This morning ICE told her that they're going to cancel her check-ins and close the ICE case because we have an approved VAWA application and she now has deferred action.
So all we have to do right now is go to the court, which is different from ICE. We have to go to the court to get them to reopen the case and terminate it so that we can proceed with processing the Green Card application. So if you have a final order of removal, that's okay, that's not a problem to doing the VAWA, it's not a problem. In fact, once your VAWA gets approved, it's gonna help you to actually go back and get that final order of removal reopened and canceled out so that you can proceed with your Green Card Applications.
Can men file for VAWA or is VAWA only for women? The answer is is that VAWA is for everyone. VAWA is for anyone who is married to a US citizen or to a green card holder who is suffering in their marriage to this citizen or to this green card holder. If this is your situation, it doesn't matter to me whether you're a man or a woman, we may be able to help you file for VAWA. And at least 50 percent of our cases that we file and that we get approved are for men who are filing now.
Guys out there, you might be feeling ashamed. You might be feeling like, "Well, my wife can't abuse me, I'm a man and that's not true." What I want you to understand is that manipulation, jealousy, controlling behaviors... These are troubling behaviors, especially if you are relying on your spouse to help you get your green card. Also, one more thing, guys men out there; If you are a father and your spouse doesn't want you... You know, they make an issue over you and the kids.
For example, if you get into a fight, they take the kids away or they threaten to not let you have custody. These are again controlling behaviors that you might be surprised to learn can help you get approved for VAWA. It doesn't matter to me if you're a man or woman. VAWA applies equally and trust me, the officers that decide this case are not going to be biased against you just because you are a man.
And I know this to be true because so many of our clients are regularly, continuously being approved for VAWA status now.
Can you help your children get a green card if you file for VAWA? If you have minor children and you want to file for VAWA, can they also help get a green card if you get a green card as well? And the answer is: Yes. Very important because especially if you're a mother or father. Im a mom and we know how important our kids are and more than anything else we want to secure the futures of our kids even more than for ourselves.
You can actually help your children get a green card if you file for VAWA and get approved, but there are some limitations.
Number One, when you file for VAWA, your children must be under 21 years old for them to get derivative status. Something that is really, really troubling for us as moms and dads is if we decide to marry somebody else right, we fall in love, we want to give our children a stable family life, but what ends up happening is that this stepparent now ends up being abusive, yells at your kids, doesn't treat them really well and it hurts you. Well guess what that hurts your kids too. And if your child also suffered some of this maldrato from your spouse, then they might be able to file for VAWA on their own up to the age of 25.
There are some limitations, and if your child is already in the US then we can usually for most cases also file a green card application at the same time we file yours.
You may be listening to me for a long time and hearing about what are the signs of VAWA? How are the ways that we can get approved and what do you actually need to show immigration? And you may be really interested in filing, but you might already have a process for a waiver started or you might already have your asylum case pending or your spouse man actually files for a green card for you and you may be wondering whether it is still possible to file for VAWA and get your own green card by yourself even if you already have another case pending with USCIS or in front of the Immigration Judge.
And the answer is that even if you have a asylum pending or a case for cancellation of removal in front of the Immigration Judge or anything else, if you are eligible for VAWA, you can still file and in many, many cases especially where our clients are in deportation proceedings and they have hearings coming up with judges. We have been able to get those cases dismissed or terminated or administratively close because of the pending VAWA application.
Also the thing is, is that especially when you file for asylum, these cases can take 5, 6, 7 years to finish and you may be feeling really frustrated because you have no idea what's going on or why its taking so long to get your case heard. If you're already in court, you might be waiting as long as that for your immigration hearing and you might be growing really frustrated.
If you are already eligible for VAWA and you want to file, I want you to understand that these are not barriers and in many cases they can work symbiotically to really help you move forward in your case.
One thing that people are worried about is whether this will hurt their spouse because even if your spouse is doing these things, you may still not want to get divorced, you may still not want to separate and you still don't want to hurt your spouse even if they're the ones causing you a lot of suffering. I understand that and I get that because relationships are very complicated and you have a long history with this person.
The first thing that I want you to know that if you decide to go down this VAWA route, this will not harm your spouse. There is no investigation of your spouse. There's no public record made on your spouse. And they're never going to be contacted about it and neither will the general public. So this case will literally not affect your spouse. They're going to go on living their merry lives doing what they're gonna do.
But meanwhile, now you will know that you have this power to move forward in your immigration journey and actually start building your American dream the way that you want.
If you have something called the permanent bar, other attorneys have probably told you that there is no way for you to get legal status inside the United States unless you leave the country for ten years, and who has the ability to leave the country for ten years just to gain status? Here is the good news, no matter what you've heard, it is actually the case that there are ways to get a work permit and to get a green card, even if you have the permanent bar without you leaving the United States at all through something called VAWA.
It is a way for people to apply for status for themselves when they are married to a US citizen or to a green card holder, or they have an adult US citizen child and your relative must have hurt you emotionally or physically. You don't need both.
This case is actually something that is super confidential and does not affect your spouse or your kids and it is a way for you to get a work permit and deferred action and in many cases you can actually get a green card through this if you have the permanent bar. Now the key is is that if you have the permanent bar and you're filing for VAWA, you have to show a connection between the abuse that you're suffering from your relative and when you left the country or when you came back to the country so that's what it requires.
If any lawyer has told you that there's simply no way unless you leave the US for ten years, please give us a call 212-248-7907 so that we can help evaluate your options to see what is actually possible for you.
Now you may never have heard of the T-Visa, but we're talking about it more and more and I want to help you learn what is a T-Visa. With the T-Visa the circumstances that you need to qualify for a T-Visa are sadly more common than people realize.
So T stands for for trafficking. And literally, what trafficking means in the immigration context is you work for someone or you're in a relationship with somebody or someone in your life has basically forced you to work, they have forced you to provide services, they have compelled you with fear or false promises or threats of deportation or threats of suing you or getting you in trouble to get you to do things, and there are so many different ways that this can happen.
Number one is for a T-Visa through employment. If you worked for a person or for a company and you basically were exploited there, they didn't pay you properly, they threatened you and you felt scared to leave. You couldn't take breaks, for those of you out there who work on farms or in factories. The T-Visa is more common than you realize, but we've had T-Visas for persons who were nannies, or for persons who worked in nail care salons.
One of the latest approvals that we had was for a client who worked in a deli, so T-Visa's have been all over the place. If you have ever worked for someone who has been abusive to you, who you feel has exploited you or discriminated against you, these could be a possible scenario for T-Visa.
The second scenario where you can get a T-Visa approved is if you are in a relationship with somebody, whether you're married to them, or whether you're not married and this person might use physical violence against you. But really what they're also doing is making you take care of them, do the laundry, cook all the meal, have dinner ready by 8 PM every single night, have the house clean, force you to take care of all the kids and never let you up.
There are lots of ways that a T-Visa situation happens in your relationship or in your marriage, and sometimes you might even get forced to work outside the home and give all of your money and your wages to your apartment.
The third way that a T-Visa can also arise is if you hire Coyote to come into the US and during your journey while you're inside the US, they forced you to do things, maybe they threaten you and then they force you to carry bags. Maybe they hurt you physically or you get sexually assaulted. We just had a case where the creotta actually forced the people that they brought in to work in the house, do the cooking and also another case where the creotta's forced the people that they brought in to work in a construction business. So that is another way that at T-Visa situation can arise.
And again if you have the permanent bar or you were told that there's no way you can get a green card in the US, if any of this sounds familiar, if it sounds like anything at all that you or your loved one has suffered, this is possibly a way for you to get status.
If you would like to learn more tips on how to get your VAWA case approved, watch my other video on how to win your VAWA case. In this, I explain the types of evidence that you may be able to use to help prove your case and give you my pro tips as an experienced immigration attorney. I'll include a link to that video right here, so click and watch and I'll see you there.