InMotion provides free legal services to low-income, battered immigrant women who seek to become legal residents of the United States. We provide free information about the law and how and under what circumstances applications can be made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
We also advise women about their options for applying for legal residency and about governmental and private agency resources that may be helpful to them. In as many cases as we can, we provide free volunteer lawyers to assist women in seeking legal residency.
The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) permits immigrant survivors of domestic violence who have married citizens or legal residents of the United States to petition (ask) for legal residency without relying on their abusive husbands’ help. If you have a child or children under the age of 21, you can also apply for legal residency for your child(ren).
To be eligible to apply for legal residency under VAWA, you must:
- Be legally married to a U.S. citizen or legal resident (or divorced within the last two years)
- Be a victim of domestic violence and have been subjected to extreme cruelty by your husband during your marriage
- Have entered your marriage in “good faith,” which means not for the sole reason of trying to get immigration benefits (a green card)
- Have lived at some point with your abuser/husband
- Be a person of good moral character
How we can help
Pro bono representation from a volunteer attorney
If inMotion provides you with a pro bono attorney, this attorney will help you:
InMotion can find a pro bono (free) attorney to represent you in applying for legal residency under VAWA. There is often a waiting list for pro bono lawyers. Whether and how quickly we can give you a volunteer attorney depends on the complexity of your case and when a volunteer attorney is available to take your case. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee pro bono representation to all women who reach out to us for help. Learn more.
- Gather all required documents, prepare written statements from yourself and other people who know about the abuse, and submit your initial (first) application to the USCIS
- Apply for any public benefits (health insurance, food assistance and financial aid) that you and your children may be eligible for while your application is pending
- Seek employment authorization (a work permit) after your initial petition is approved by the USCIS
- At the appropriate later date, prepare and file with USCIS your final (second) application to become a permanent legal resident of the United States
- Get ready for, and go with you to, your interview with the immigration authorities
- Prepare and file applications under VAWA for any of your children who are not legal residents or citizens of the United States
Free legal advice and information
If you qualify to apply under VAWA for legal residency—and you are eligible for our services—we can give you free legal advice and information to help you understand your legal rights, how the law applies to your case and the steps involved in making your application. Learn more.
Types of immigration cases that inMotion cannot assist with
InMotion provides immigration assistance only to battered immigrant women who are legally married to citizens or legal residents of the United States (or divorced in the last two years).
||We cannot assist with:
- Human trafficking (T-visas) and U-visas
- Citizenship or naturalization
- Family petitions
- Removal proceedings
- Special immigrant juveniles
- Asylum or refugee cases
- Temporary protected status
More information for immigrant abuse victims
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