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Green Card for VAWA Self Petitioner


Under the federal Violence Against Women Act, if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty, at the hands of a United States Citizen spouse or former spouse, or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or former spouse, you can be eligible for a Green Card.

woman sitting on the floor

Certainly, there are some requirements.

You can petition for this benefit without the help of your abuser. While many spouses and/or victims do not report their abuse to law enforcement, for many reasons:

  1. They do not understand the process.
  2. They are still in a relationship with their abuser.
  3. They are intimidated by the process.

How this Works: If you have experienced battery or extreme cruelty at the hands of a qualifying relative, you may submit a petition on your own behalf.

Typically, petitions of this kind take approximately 2 years to adjudicate. In the meantime, the victim will be eligible for employment authorization. It is not required that the victim divorce his/her abuser.

It is required however that the victim properly files an application, must remain in the United States and does not have any bars to admission.

Did you know?

As a VAWA self-petitioner, you do not need a financial sponsor.

As a VAWA self-petitioner, you are eligible to change your status in the United States even if you entered without inspection.

As a VAWA self-petitioner, your children under the age of 21, who are without status are eligible for derivative benefits. In other words, they too can obtain a green card.


If you are a male or a female.

If you are undocumented.

If you have experienced abuse or extreme cruelty.

If your abuser is a spouse or parent.

If your abuser is a United States Citizen or a Lawful Permanent resident.

… you might be eligible for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act.


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