Victims of Domestic Violence:
VAWA Petitions

As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The protections enable victims to seek permanent resident status based on the abuse, without the abuser’s knowledge.

This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing. Victims are also able to include their unmarried children who are under 21.


To qualify, the victim must:

. Be the spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen OR the spouse or child of a green card holder;

. Has suffered battery or extreme cruelty by the abuser;

. Is a person of good moral character; and

.If based on a spousal relationship, the victim must have entered the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits*


Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant filing fee: $0
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: $0
Legal fees: $4,500


1. File Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, including all supporting documentation along with I-765 application for employment authorization.

2. If the applicant meets all the filing requirements, he or she will receive a notice (Prima Facie Determination Notice) that can be used to obtain certain public benefits for victims of domestic violence.

3. If the I-360 is approved, the applicant will be placed in deferred action and can then apply for a green card if the applicant meets certain criteria.


The current processing time for VAWA petitions is 6-8 months.