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Visas for Victims of Crime and Domestic Violence

Both Milwaukee Immigration Attorneys Kevin Layde and Gabriela Parra have extensive experience in providing legal services to individuals who have been the victims of crime and domestic violence.  Many of these people can apply for special immigration benefits to assist them on the road to recovery from these traumatic experiences.

The most common types of humanitarian visas include the “U-Visa” and the “VAWA Self-Petition.”  A U-Visa is designed to provide a path to permanent lawful status for individuals who have been the victim of serious violent crimes who have cooperated with law enforcement.  A VAWA self-petition is intended to provide a similar pathway to undocumented victims of domestic violence who are married to US citizens or permanent residents.

There are many misconceptions about these humanitarian types of immigration cases.  The most important details to remember are these:

First, if you have been the victim of a crime in the United States, especially a crime of violence, report this crime to the police immediately and cooperate with law enforcement to the fullest extent possible.  Without that cooperation, you will lose the opportunity to apply for a U Visa.

Second, if you are married to an abusive spouse who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident, you do not need to remain living with that individual for immigration purposes.  You may have the ability to file for permanent residency without your spouse’s cooperation, sometimes even after divorce or the death of your spouse.

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