Petitions under special programs such as U visas, VAWA, special immigrant juveniles, TPS, and NACARA
There are many different ways that you can obtain a visa to come to the United States either temporarily or to start the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. For some individuals, special programs are available in cases where the individual faces a danger to his health or safety.
These special programs have strict qualifying criteria and don’t apply to everyone, but if you or a loved one qualifies, it is important that you are aware of it and take the right steps to obtain a visa. An immigration attorney at Monty & Ramirez can help you to determine if you meet the criteria for a special program and, if so, can help you to work towards getting the legal status that the program provides.
Petitions Available Under Special Programs
If you or a loved one is facing a danger in the United States or in your home country, some of the different special programs that can make it possible for you to petition to come to the U.S. either temporarily or permanently include:
- A U Visa: A U Visa is available for victims of certain crimes to obtain temporary legal status and work eligibility in the United States for as long as four years. Each fiscal year, 10,000 U Visas can be issued in the United States. The visas are non-immigrant visas and the person who is petitioning for the visa can also include family members such as spouses, unmarried siblings under 18, parents, and children.
- Temporary protected status: Temporary protected status is available when certain foreign countries are designated as being unsafe. If there is open armed conflict, an environmental disaster or some other extra ordinary and temporary danger in a person’s home country, that individual may be able to stay in the United States and enjoy temporary protected status until returning home becomes safe.
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Spouses, parents or children who are victims of abuse can obtain an immigrant visa petition without knowledge of the abuser provided they meet certain criteria such as being married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who was an abuser or being recently divorced from a U.S. citizen abuser within two years of the filing date. The petition can be filed by either women or men, and unmarried children aged 21 or under can be included on the petition.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ): Foreign children in the U.S. who have been the victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect can file for SIJ. Children who obtain a green card through the SIJ program cannot ever petition for a green card for their parents and cannot petition for a green card for siblings until becoming a United States citizen.
- The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA): Certain individuals who entered the U.S. from El Salvador, the former Soviet bloc countries, or Guatemala could be eligible to immigrate if they entered the U.S. and applied for asylum by specific dates or if they registered for benefits under a settlement agreement in a class action called American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh.
These are just a few of the many special programs that exist to protect people who need to come to the U.S. to escape a bad home situation. Each program has its own unique requirements and qualifying criteria and it is very important that you understand whether you are eligible and what you must do to prove it.
Getting Legal Help
At Monty & Ramirez, our experienced immigration lawyers know the ins-and-outs of immigration law and can help you apply for immigration through any program for which you may meet the criteria. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more. At Monty and Ramirez, we know what works. ®