Have you recently had your VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) petition approved? Congratulations! The next question on your mind is probably, “How long does it take to get a green card after VAWA approval?” In this article, we’ll guide you through the process, explaining the steps involved and providing insights into the typical processing times. So, let’s dive in!
What is VAWA?
Before we delve into the waiting time for a green card after VAWA approval, let’s first understand what VAWA is. The Violence Against Women Act is a U.S. federal law that provides protection and immigration benefits to victims of domestic violence, including both women and men. VAWA allows eligible individuals to self-petition for a green card without relying on their abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent, or adult child as a sponsor.
To be eligible for VAWA, you must meet certain requirements, such as demonstrating a qualifying relationship with the abuser, proving the abuser’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and providing evidence of the abuse you have suffered. Once your VAWA petition is approved, you can move forward with the green card application process.
Steps to Apply for VAWA
To begin the journey towards obtaining a green card after VAWA approval, you need to follow a few essential steps. Here’s a brief overview:
- Gathering Required Documentation: Collect all the necessary documents, such as evidence of your relationship with the abuser, evidence of abuse, and supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility for VAWA.
- Completing the Form I-360: Fill out Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, accurately and provide all the requested information. This form serves as the primary application for VAWA benefits.
- Submitting the Application: Once you have completed Form I-360 and gathered all the required documentation, submit your application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for review.
The Approval Process for VAWA
After submitting your VAWA application, it will go through a thorough review process by USCIS. Here’s what you can expect:
- USCIS Review and Decision: USCIS will carefully examine your application, verifying the evidence you provided and determining whether you meet the eligibility requirements for VAWA. The reviewprocess may take several months, and USCIS will notify you of their decision by mail.
- Possible Requests for Evidence (RFE): In some cases, USCIS may request additional evidence or documentation to support your VAWA petition. If you receive an RFE, make sure to respond promptly and provide the requested information to avoid delays.
- Interview (if required): In certain situations, USCIS may schedule an interview to further assess your eligibility for VAWA benefits. If an interview is required, attend it as scheduled and bring any requested documents or evidence.
After VAWA Approval
Once your VAWA petition is approved, you have cleared a significant hurdle in your journey toward obtaining a green card. However, there are a few more steps to complete before you can finally hold the green card in your hands. Let’s explore what comes next:
- Filing for Adjustment of Status: After VAWA approval, you need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is used to apply for a green card and adjust your immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
- Waiting for the Green Card: After filing Form I-485, you will need to wait for USCIS to process your application and issue your green card. The processing time can vary depending on various factors.
Processing Times for Green Card
Now, let’s address the burning question: “How long does it take to get a green card after VAWA approval?” The processing times for green card applications can vary based on several factors, including USCIS workload, the complexity of your case, and other external factors. Let’s explore some key considerations:
- USCIS Processing Times: USCIS provides estimated processing times for different types of applications on their website. These times can give you a general idea of how long it may take to receive your green card. However, keep in mind that these estimates are subject to change and may not reflect the exact timeframe for your case.
- Factors that May Affect Processing Times: Several factors can impact the processing times for green card applications. These include the volume of applications USCIS is currently handling, staffing levels, administrative backlogs, and any changes in immigration policies or procedures.
How Long Does It Take?
While it’s difficult to provide an exact timeframe for how long it takes to get a green card after VAWA approval, we can provide some insights based on typical processing times:
- Typical Processing Times for VAWA Cases: On average, it can take approximately 12 to 18 months from the time of VAWA approval to receive the green card. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate, and individual cases can vary.
- Variations in Processing Times: Some cases may be processed more quickly, while others may experience longer wait times. Factors such as the complexity of your case, USCIS workload, and any additional processing requirements can contribute to variations in processing times.
What to Do if It Takes Longer
If the processing time for your green card after VAWA approval exceeds what is typically expected, don’t panic. Here are some steps you can take:
- Checking Case Status Online: You can use the USCIS online case status tool to check the progress of your application. This will give you an idea of where your case stands in the process and if any additional steps or documents are needed.
- Contacting USCIS: If you believe there has been an unreasonable delay in processing your green card application, you can contact USCIS for more information. They may be able to provide additional details or address any concerns you have.
- Seeking Legal Assistance: If you’re facing significant delays or encountering difficulties during the green card application process,it may be beneficial to seek legal assistance from an experienced immigration attorney. They can review your case, provide guidance on the best course of action, and advocate on your behalf if necessary.
In conclusion, the time it takes to get a green card after VAWA approval can vary depending on various factors. While the average processing time is around 12 to 18 months, it’s important to remember that each case is unique, and individual circumstances can affect the timeline. Stay patient, monitor your case’s progress, and seek assistance if needed. Soon, you’ll be one step closer to obtaining your green card and starting a new chapter in your life.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Can I work while waiting for my green card after VAWA approval? Yes, after your VAWA petition is approved, you may be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) which allows you to legally work in the United States while waiting for your green card.
- Do I need to maintain my VAWA eligibility during the waiting period? Yes, it’s important to maintain your eligibility during the waiting period. USCIS may request additional evidence or conduct interviews to ensure that you continue to meet the requirements for VAWA benefits.
- Can I travel outside the United States while waiting for my green card? If you have an approved VAWA petition and have filed for adjustment of status, you may be eligible to apply for a travel document called Advance Parole. This document allows you to travel internationally while your green card application is pending.
- What happens if my VAWA application is denied? If your VAWA application is denied, you may have the option to file an appeal or submit a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to explore your options.
- Can I include my children in my VAWA petition? Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirements, you can include your unmarried children under 21 years old in your VAWA petition as derivatives. They may also be eligible for green cards if your petition is approved.
It is important to consult with our office to understand how VAWA applies to your specific circumstances. Our knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the process, help gather the necessary evidence, and provide legal representation to strengthen your case.
Contact the Law Office of Ghenadie Rusu: Schedule a confidential consultation today to discuss your situation and learn how we can help you.