Being the victim of domestic abuse or any other type of crime is frightening enough for most people. But for individuals who are here provisionally or who are without status in the U.S. it is nothing less than terrifying.

At Van Der Hout LLP, our San Francisco immigration lawyers offer legal protection and assistance to:

Victims Of Crimes

Temporary nonimmigrant visas are available for victims of certain crimes. These nonimmigrant visas are divided into the following three categories:

  • S visas for victims of organized crime or terrorism
  • T visas for victims of human trafficking
  • U visas for victims of violent crimes (some common examples include domestic violence, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault, blackmail, and extortion)

All three of these visa categories allow for a potential stay of three years and the eventual possibility to apply for lawful permanent residence. But because each of these visas requires a victim to cooperate in any criminal prosecution, speaking with an attorney before seeking one is highly recommended.

Victims Of Domestic Violence

The 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act of 2000 allow individuals who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain residency in two ways — through self-petitioning or through cancellation of removal.

  • Self-Petitioning / Battered Spouse Petitions — Instead of depending upon a spouse to apply for residency, a victim of domestic violence can apply for residency independently. The resident spouse plays no role in the process and does not have to know that the applicant is filing a VAWA claim. VAWA is complicated, however, and you should consult with a lawyer before proceeding.
  • Cancellation of Removal — This option is available to applicants who are in, or who can be placed into, removal proceedings. Because applicants must be in removal proceedings before VAWA cancellation of removal is possible, it is necessary to see an immigration attorney before this type of VAWA relief is sought.

Contacting Our Bay Area Law Offices

If you have been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident — call or contact us directly at our San Francisco, California, law offices to schedule an appointment. Initial consultations are provided at a rate discounted from our standard fee.

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