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Immigration & Visa Information for Victims of Sexual & Interpersonal Violence

International students and scholars with questions about their immigration and visa status are advised to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney. This information is a resource to explain certain aspects of the law, but is not a replacement for legal advice.

I’ve been a victim of assault, does my immigration status affect my ability to access on-campus resources?

No. Under the law, students and staff who are victims or survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence receive the same rights under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments (Title IX) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), regardless of immigration and visa status. The College will not retaliate against you or treat you differently on the basis of reporting a crime.

Information about on-campus medical and counseling resources, as well as available accommodations, may be found at the Public Safety website.

Can I press criminal charges as a documented or undocumented immigrant? 

Yes. Specific questions about filing charges may be addressed to the Mahwah Police Department:
221 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
(201) 529-1000

Are there specific visa and immigration statuses for victims of crimes?

Yes. For victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, there may be other visa options, including U and T Visas. For specifics, talk to an immigration attorney.

U Visa

For victims of substantial physical or mental abuse as the result of certain criminal activity, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, assault, or other related crimes.

Victim/applicant must be a victim of qualifying criminal activity and likely to be helpful to the investigation and/or prosecution of that criminal activity.

Generally valid for four years.

For more information, consult an immigration attorney, and see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

T Visa

For victims of human trafficking.

Must comply with reasonable requests from law enforcement for cooperation in investigation or prosecution of trafficking act(s) (unless unable to cooperate because of physical or psychological trauma), and must be able to demonstrate that the victim/applicant would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States.

Generally valid for four years.

For more information, consult an immigration attorney, and see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Is there an office on campus that can provide me additional information?
Yes. Please contact Kat McGee, Director of Title IX, ADA, and Compliance Training at (201) 684-7220 or kmcgee@ramapo.edu

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services can provide useful information regarding immigration status. Note that for questions regarding changes to other visa statuses, or legal options that fall outside of standard F-1 and J-1 student visas, or employer-sponsored work visas, consult a qualified immigration attorney.

What is an immigration attorney and what do they do? 

Immigration attorney are licensed lawyers who specialize in the field of immigration law. They function as the client’s advocate, and can represent them before immigration agencies, both in immigration court as well as in filing applications for immigration benefits. The lawyer can give general advice and can discuss immigration options. Like all lawyers, immigration lawyers are bound by professional ethical and legal requirements, and keep client discussions confidential.

Where can I find a local immigration attorney?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), offers two sites to help individuals find free or low-cost legal representation:
USCIS: Find Help in your Community Webpage
USCIS: Find Legal Services Webpage

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) provides a listing of attorneys by state who provide immigration services either for free or for little cost.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offers an online Immigration Lawyer Referral Service that can help a student or scholar find an immigration lawyer.

The American Bar Association also provides information on finding legal services by state.

This information is provided courtesy of the State University of New York and is used with permission. To learn more please visit: http://response.suny.edu.

 

 

Additional Resources: 

OFFICE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (OVW) HTTP://WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/OVW

The mission of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is to provide federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. A good resource for information about U.S. laws.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM VIOLENCE IN YOUR HOME:

Questions and Answers for Immigrant and Refugee Women produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. This resources is available on their website in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Russian, and Korean.  http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/ImmigrantWomen/english.pdf