The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) provides a form of immigration relief which allows certain individuals (conditional residents, battered spouses and children of Cuban Adjustment, HRIFA and NACARA beneficiaries, abused spouses, children, and parents) to apply for “deferred action” (and sometimes a green card) without needing to be sponsored by a U.S. citizen (“USC”) or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
Am I eligible to apply?
If you are the spouse or child of a USC or LPR, or the parent of a USC, and you are or have been subject to extreme cruelty, you may be eligible to apply as a “self-petitioner” under VAWA.
How do I document my VAWA self-petition?
The spouse or child must demonstrate that s/he resided with his/her USC or LPR spouse/parent; was battered or subject to extreme cruelty during the marriage (or, in the case of a spouse self-petitioner, the child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty); the marriage was entered into in good faith; s/he is otherwise eligible for an immediately available immigrant visa or a visa under the preference category system; and has good moral character.
What happens when my VAWA self-petition is approved?
The VAWA self-petition is made on Form I-360. When USCIS issues its approval of this form, the self-petitioner is granted “deferred action,” and is eligible for employment authorization.
Can I get a green card with an approved VAWA self-petition?
If you are/were married to a USC, an immigrant visa is immediately available to you and you may apply to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident upon approval of Form I-360. However, if you are/were married to a LPR, you must wait for your visa to become available in the preference category system. You may wait in the United States, however, since you will have been granted “deferred action” status and are eligible to work under your grant of work authorization.
How long does the VAWA self-petition process take?
The wait times are constantly changing. To check the current estimated processing times, see the USCIS web site.
How can I get more information regarding the VAWA self-petition process?
Contact us by telephone at (206) 535-2900 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.