What Is Vawa?
Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse
- A U.S. citizen parent
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse
- An LPR parent.
Eligibility Requirements For Vawa
In order to be eligible for a Green Card as a VAWA self-petitioner, you must meet the following requirements:
- You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485
- You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa
- An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application
- None of the bars to adjustment of status apply to you
- You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief
- You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion
How To Apply For Vawa
If you are currently in the United States and you meet certain other requirements (such as an immigrant visa is immediately available to you), you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to apply for a Green Card without leaving the country.
You must have an approved Form I-360 in order to qualify for a Green Card. If a visa is immediately available to you, you do not have to wait until your Form I-360 is approved to file Form I-485.
If you are a VAWA self-petitioner seeking to adjust status as an immediate relative, you may file Form I-485 at any time because visas are always immediately available for immediate relatives. If you are a VAWA self-petitioner seeking to adjust under a family-based preference category, you may need to wait for a visa to become available.
If a visa is immediately available, you may file your Form I-485:
- Together with your Form I-360;
- While your Form I-360 is pending; or
- After your Form I-360 is approved (and remains valid)
If you already have a pending Form I-485 based on an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative that the abusive family member filed for you, you may request to convert your Form I-485 so that it is based on your VAWA self-petition. To make this request, you must notify the USCIS field office adjudicating the pending Form I-485 that you have filed a VAWA self-petition or that you will do so within 30 days. You should also provide the USCIS field office with a safe address where we can mail all future correspondence to you.
If you do not submit evidence that you filed a VAWA self-petition within 30 days of requesting to convert your Form I-485, USCIS may make a decision on your pending application based on the original Form I-130 filed by the abusive family member. Otherwise, if USCIS approves your VAWA self-petition, your application to adjust status will be based on the VAWA self-petition instead of the original Form I-130.