A battered spouse, child or parent, can apply for an immigration status by petitioning under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as adjusted by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the spouse, child or parent can apply for permanent residence (Green Card) if they meet the eligibility criteria under the VAWA provisions. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that allows battered spouses to self-petition for legal residency in the United States. This also allows the sufferers to seek both safety and freedom from their abuser, who is not reported about the filing.
Who Is It For
The Violence against Women Act, or VAWA, gives abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residence rights for lawful permanent resident status (a U.S. green card).
How to Qualify?
The following people are eligible for a Green Card application under this category:
- Spouses: You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
- Parents: You may file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen who has abused you;
- Children: You may file for yourself if you are unmarried, under 21, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent.
- Please see our Battered Spouse, Children and Parents webpagefor additional information.
To apply for Green Card for abused battered spouses Under the Violence Against Women Act, you need the following:
- You must file the petition with the Vermont Service Center (VSC).
- If you are living in a foreign country at the time of filing the self-petition, you may file Form I-360 if:
- the abuser is an employee of the U.S. government,
- the abuser is a member of the uniformed services, or
- You were subjected to battery or extreme brutality in the United States.
- If you are a spouse or child, petitioning yourself, and you meet all eligibility requirements, you will receive a notice (Prima Facie Determination Notice) valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to certain victims of domestic violence.
- If your Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant is approved and you do not have legal immigration status in the United States, we may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States.
If you submitted a Form I-360 as a VAWA self-petitioner, you are called the “main applicant” or “principal applicant” when you file a Form I-485. If you are the principal applicant, you should submit the following documents and evidence to adjust status:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- Copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice or Receipt, for your Form I-360 (unless you are filing Form I-360 together with your Form I-485);
- Government-issued ID documents
- Birth certificate;
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- Copy of your passport page with admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer) (if applicable);
- Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable);
- Police clearance
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility(if applicable);
- Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal(if applicable);
- Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance with or a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) (for more information, see Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement);
- If you currently hold A, G, or E nonimmigrant status, includeForm I-508, Application for Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities; and
- Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request – A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status
- For more information on applying for adjustment of status, see the Instructions for Form I-485 (PDF, 1.4 MB). Please also see our page on Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS.