Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Green Card

What is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act, known as VAWA, was established in order for immigrant victims of substantial physical, mental, emotional and domestic abuse who were the spouse, children or parent of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to get help and self-petition to receive a green card without relying on the abusive relative to petition them for immigration benefits. This immigration application allows victims of abuse to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who does not get notified about the filing. The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization.

What are the requirements to apply for VAWA?

Immigration relief under VAWA is available to a battered spouse or a child of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. These victims of abuse are eligible under amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to apply for Green Card. Read more about immigration relief for battered spouses, children and parents on

In order to satisfy the requirements of VAWA, you must meet the following:

  1. You are now the spouse or child of an abusive U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident

  2. You are now residing in the United States or have resided in the United States with a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident abuser in the past

  3. Have been battered by or have been the subject of extreme cruelty perpetrated by:

    1. Your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse during the marriage, or are the parent of a child who has been battered by or has been the subject of extreme cruelty perpetrated by your abusive citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse during your marriage;

    2. Your citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parent while residing with that parent;

  4. You are a person of good moral character

  5. Are a person whose removal or deportation would result in extreme hardship to yourself, or to your child if you are a spouse

  6. Are a spouse, and entered into the marriage to the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident abuser in good faith.

Our experienced immigration attorneys are both friendly and supportive of individuals in need of assistance. Contact us now for your free consultation.

What Is the Filing Fee for a VAWA Green Card?

When applying to be classified as the battered spouse of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR,) you are not required to pay a filing fee. Likewise, when applying for a green card or adjustment of status concurrently or in connection with an approved LPR application, the filing fees for the application for a green card can be waived if the applicant can demonstrate sufficient financial hardship. For more information on fee waiver, please visit our fee waiver page.

What Is the Estimated Processing Time for Approval of a VAWA Self-Petition?

Generally, the approval time of a VAWA petition to be classified as the battered spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can take anywhere from 4 months to 18 months, depending on various reasons. If a VAWA self-petition is prepared correctly and clearly establishes the applicant’s eligibility for VAWA, it has a much better chance of being approved in a shorter amount of time. With these special types of cases, it is strongly encouraged that the applicant retains an experienced immigration attorney. Our Los Angeles immigration attorney has a high success rate of getting our clients approved for VAWA in under 8 months and we recently had a couple of clients approved for VAWA in 3 months’ time. Contact our attorney now.

What Evidence Should I Prepare to Prove My Eligibility for VAWA Green Card?

As mentioned above, there are certain requirements that a VAWA self-petitioner must meet. Below are additional details on how to meet these requirements. For more information, please read our information section on evidence to prove your eligibility for VAWA.

Can I Submit a VAWA Application If I Am Currently in Removal Proceeding?

Yes, you may submit a VAWA application to USCIS if you are currently in a removal proceeding. VAWA application is reviewed by USCIS and the immigration judge does not have jurisdiction to review the VAWA application. You may also apply for VAWA Cancellation of Removal, which will be reviewed by the immigration judge in immigration court as a relief to removal. If you would like to learn more about VAWA cancellation of removal, please visit our information page on how to submit the application in immigration court.