Immigration & Visa Information for Victims of Sexual & Interpersonal Violence

In addition to the on- and off-campus resources listed in other sections, international students may have a need for further information related to their visa status. If you are an international student studying in the United States and have questions appropriate to your embassy, you may contact your nation’s embassy through the U.S. State Department: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm

International students and scholars with questions about their immigration and visa status are advised to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.  This webpage 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.  Information about on-campus counseling resources, as well as available accommodations, may be found here.  Information about the student conduct process may be found in the Student Handbook.  The Graduate School will not retaliate against you or treat you differently on the basis of reporting a crime.

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

Yes.  Information about your state’s criminal definitions of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking may be found in the Annual Security Report. Specific questions about filing charges may be addressed with law enforcement or with your immigration attorney.

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 in the United States, including U and T Visas.  For specifics, talk to an immigration attorney, and see the following USCIS websites:

 

Is there an office on campus that can provide me additional information?

The Registrar, Mr. Guttman, 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 student visas, consult a qualified immigration attorney.

Options available for F-1 students:

  • Options for reduced course-load approval due to medical conditions certified by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist
  • Options for, and consequences to, withdrawing from your academic program
  • Information about returning to the academic program at a later date, if the student chooses to withdraw
  • Options and consequences for accompanying spouses
  • General information on options for changing visa status.
  • General information on U and T visas. (Referral to a qualified immigration attorney)
  • Referral to a qualified attorney

What is an immigration lawyer and what do they do?

Immigration lawyers are licensed attorneys 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:

Other online resources to help individuals find legal representation include: