Battered Immigrant Project (BIP)
A special statewide project of Legal Aid of NC
Intake on Thursdays, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Domestic violence is a pervasive problem among North Carolina’s immigrant
population, just as it is among U.S. citizens. Battered immigrants need
legal assistance in order to navigate the complex maze of immigration laws that
change on a regular basis.
Through the Battered Immigrant Project (BIP), Legal Aid of North
Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI) also provides
comprehensive and culturally appropriate legal services to immigrant
survivors of violence needing assistance with immigration. The
BIP represents qualifying applicants across the state of North
Carolina in immigration matters including:
Self-Petitions and Petitions to Remove Conditions on Residency
under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
U Visas for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and
T Visas for victims of human trafficking
Deportation defense for qualifying victims of domestic violence,
sexual assault and human trafficking.
As domestic violence experts, LANC's BIP attorneys are in a unique
position to assist immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual
assault, and human trafficking with these types of cases.
Due to the constantly changing and regulatory nature of immigration
law, it is necessary to have specially trained immigration attorneys
as part of the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative corps of
attorneys. Although there may be several paths for an
undocumented battered immigrant to potentially obtain legal
immigration status, it is extremely challenging to acquire
immigration status without the assistance of an attorney.
BIP attorneys work with domestic violence and immigrant rights
advocates across the state to provide them with information about
the rights of battered immigrants. Through the
DVPI, staff in
LANC offices, as resources allow, represent immigrant survivors
in legal matters such as:
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Family Law issues
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
to read disclaimer)
What types of immigration cases does LANC handle?
LANC´s Battered Immigrant Project provides immigration assistance to immigrants who have been
victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or human trafficking in the
I am/was married to a US citizen or a legal permanent resident, but I have
been a victim of domestic violence and my abusive spouse will not help me
with immigration. What can I do?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to file a self-petition
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) without any help from your
spouse. In order to self-petition, you must prove that you are married
to a US citizen or legal permanent resident, that you married your spouse in
good faith, that you have resided with your spouse in the United States,
that you have been physically abused or subjected to extreme mental cruelty
by your spouse, and that you have good moral character. This remedy
would allow you to remain in the US, apply for work authorization, become
eligible for some public benefits, and eventually get a “green card,” which
is a card that indicates that you have become a legal permanent resident.
For more detailed information about VAWA, please visit
I am a conditional resident of the United States (i.e., I have a green
card that expires in two years.), but my US citizen spouse has abused me and
will not help me file the petition to remove the conditions on my residence. What can I do?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to file for a waiver of
the joint filing requirement to remove the conditions on your residence. In
order to qualify for a waiver of the joint filing requirement based on being
abused by your spouse, you have to prove that you are a conditional
resident, that you married your husband in good faith, and that you have
been physically abused or subjected to extreme mental cruelty by your
I am married to an undocumented person who has committed a crime of
domestic violence against me, and I have suffered as a result of being a
victim of this crime. What can I do?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for a
(also called Crime Victim Visa) to remain in the US, get work authorization,
and possibly get a “green card” later on. To qualify for a U visa, you
have to prove that a crime of domestic violence was committed against you,
that you suffered substantially as a result of being a victim of this crime,
and that you have cooperated, are cooperating, or will cooperate with the
authorities in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. In
order to apply for a U visa, you also have to obtain a certification from
law enforcement confirming that you were a crime victim and that you have
cooperated in the criminal investigation or prosectuion.
For more detailed information about U-Visas, please visit
I have been a victim of a crime of domestic violence committed by my
boyfriend, not my spouse? Can I still qualify for a U visa?
In order to qualify for a
you do not have to be married to the person who committed the crime of
domestic violence against you.
I came to the United States for a specific job, but when I
arrived the job was not what I thought it would be. I am being paid less
than expected, I work more hours than I thought I would, and I don't have
the freedom to work somewhere else. I cannot leave the job because my
employer has threatened me and my family with physical harm if I try to
leave. What can I do?
below on "T-Visa" (also called a "Trafficking Victims Visa)"]
came to the United States to join my husband, but when I got here, instead
of wanting me to be his wife, he wanted me to work in his house as his
servant. I am not allowed to leave the house and I am scared that he will
report me to immigration. He will not file immigration papers for me. What
can I do?
response below on "T-Visa" (also called a "Trafficking Victims Visa)"]
I paid someone to bring me to the United States so that I
could go to school. When I got here, the person who arranged everything for
me said that I owed him more money and forced me to have sex for money in
order to pay him back. He said that I couldn't leave until I paid him back.
What can I do?
Depending on your situation, you may be
eligible to a apply for a
T-Visa (also called a Trafficking
Victims Visa) to remain in the US, get work authorization, some
public benefits, and possibly a "green card" later on. A person is
considered to be a victim of human trafficking if he or she provided labor
or sexual services for profit because he or she has been threatened,
intimidated, misled or physically forced to do so. To qualify for a T-visa,
you have to prove that you are a victim of a severe form of human
trafficking; that you are in the United States because of being trafficked;
that you have complied with any reasonable request for assistance from law
enforcement; and that you would suffer if you were removed from the US. For
more detailed information about
T-Visas, please click
Will a LANC attorney help me with a VAWA self-petition (I-360), Petition
to Remove Conditions on my Residence (I-751), U-Visa or T-Visa?
LANC BIP attorneys assist eligible clients with VAWA self-petitions (I-360),
Petitions to Remove Conditions (I-751), U-Visas, T-Visas, Applications to
Adjust Status (I-485) and Applications for Work Authorization (I-765). For more information or to request that an attorney represent you in one of
these matters, please call our toll-free line, 1-866-204-7612. If your case is assigned to an attorney, you will
be sent forms that you will need to sign and return. These will
include a retainer agreement and a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) form
that will allow LANC to request a copy of anything that USCIS (United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services) already has on file related to your
case. LANC attorneys may not be able to start your case immediately
due to a backlog of cases; however, returning the FOIA and retainer
agreement promptly will allow your attorney to begin gathering information
needed for your case right away. You may also be sent a list of
documents that help support a VAWA self-petition. You should begin gathering any of these documents that are available to you.
Can the LANC BIP help me with another type of immigration case, other
than the ones listed above?
If you are an agricultural worker who has become a temporary resident alien
or an H-2 worker and have problems with your employer, you should contact
LANC Farmworker’s Unit. If you are seeking
assistance with asylum, temporary protected status, family-based petitions,
naturalization or other types of immigration cases that Legal Aid may not
handle, please visit the North Carolina Justice Center
website (http://www.ncjustice.org) and review the information under
Rights Issues.” Another useful
website may be the
United States Immigration and Citizenship Services
I am an immigrant victim of domestic violence and I want
to obtain a domestic violence protective order and/or custody of my minor
children. Can the LANC BIP help me with these matters?
Domestic Violence Prevention
Initiative (DVPI), attorneys in LANC’s local offices provide legal
representation to qualifying applicants in domestic violence protective
orders and certain family law cases. To apply for assistance, please
local LANC office or call LANC’s Centralized Intake Unit at
Battered Immigrant Project (BIP) Staff
TeAndra M. Miller, Esq. DVPI/BIP Project Director (Raleigh
Rona Karacacova, Esq., BIP
Coordinator, (Charlotte Office)
Jennifer Stuart, Esq., Staff
Attorney (Raleigh DVPI Office)
Saba A Baig, Staff Attorney (Raleigh DVPI/BIP Office)
Amanda B. Raflo Staff Attorney (Charlotte Office)
Kate Shattuck, Jesuit Volunteer (LANC-Farmworker Unit, Raleigh)
Patricia Harris, Project Litigation Assistant (Raleigh DVPI/BIP
BIP Toll-free Intake Line:
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
office, Battered Immigrant Project
1431 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204
1-800-738-3868 x 215 (toll-free); Fax: 704-971-0180
office, Battered Immigrant Project
224 S. Dawson Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
1-866-219-5263 (toll-free); Fax: 919-863-1407
here to find the Legal Aid of NC
office nearest you.
The materials contained on this website
are for information and educational purposes only and do not
constitute legal advice.
Also please note that Legal Aid of North Carolina does not
provide legal assistance by E-mail. Contact your Legal Aid of
North Carolina office or a private attorney if you need to speak
to an attorney regarding your particular situation.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that
provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in
order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers
to economic opportunity.