Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), spouses, children, or parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are experiencing or have experienced battery or extreme cruelty by their relation are allowed to self-petition for an immigrant visa.

If you are the victim of domestic violence and decide to self-petition, your abuser will not be notified of the filing. In this way, you can safely seek help and freedom from your abuser. Both men and women may file a petition under the Violence Against Women Act.


You may be eligible to self-petition if:

  • You are or were the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen/permanent resident spouse
  • You have been abused by your U.S. citizen/permanent resident son or daughter
  • You are under 21, unmarried, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen/permanent resident parent

Applying for a Green Card

To apply for an immigrant visa as a VAWA self-petitioner, you must submit Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. This form may be submitted without the knowledge or consent of your abusive family member. If your VAWA self-petition is approved, you may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status, though you must meet other requirements to do so.

You must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa and an immigrant visa must be immediately available to you. Additionally, you must meet the following requirements to apply for a Green Card:

  • File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • You are physically present in the U.S. at the time of filing Form I-485
  • No bars to adjustment of status are applicable to your situation
  • You are admissible to the United States or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility

If you are already in the process of requesting an adjustment of status based on an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) filed by your abusive family member, editing your Form I-485 so that it is based on your VAWA self-petition is an option. If this scenario applies to, contact the USCIS field office regarding your situation and provide them with a secure mailing address where you can receive future correspondence.

How We Can Help

At Youngblood & Associates, we understand that domestic violence is a serious situation that needs to be handled with sensitivity and discretion. Our experienced legal team will carefully work with you to determine if you are eligible to self-petition for an immigrant visa. Once your eligibility is determined, we will assist you in correctly completing all appropriate forms and gathering all required supporting documentation, ensuring that your safety and confidentiality is a priority throughout the process.

After your filing and approval, the Youngblood & Associates staff with guide you in any next steps. Should you decide to request an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, we will work diligently to assist you in this path to obtaining a Green Card.

Not sure what you need?

Call our office today at 931-274-7811 to schedule your consultation or complete a service inquiry form to get your process started today.

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