Self-Petitions Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses, children, and parents of abusive United States citizens, or lawful permanent residents in some instances, to petition for permanent residence in the United States. To qualify for a self-petition, the self-petitioner should have been abused by the United States citizen, or by the Lawful Permanent Resident in the case or spouse or child. There are several kinds of abuse that qualify, which will be discussed below.
I was abused by My Spouse, Can I Apply Under VAWA?
If you had been abused by your spouse, you may self-petition for permanent residence by filing an I-360 petition with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services. This ability to self-petition was established by Congress in 1996 in the original Violence Against Women Act. The self-petitioning process is straightforward and is adjudicated by a special section of the Service’s Vermont Service Center. Once approved, the self-petitioner may apply for Adjustment of Status, if the visa number is available.