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What is VAWA and Who Can Apply for It?

What is VAWA and Who Can Apply for It?


According to a recent CDC report, 31.5% of women in the U.S. experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year. Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse, but also psychological violence, and verbal abuse. In the light of this, President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. VAWA recognizes crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.




What Exactly is VAWA?

VAWA allows immigrants battered by their American spouse, children, and parents to petition for legal status in the United States. To do so, the victims must fill out form I-360, along with supporting evidence. The abuse may be verbal, emotional, or psychological. After your petition is approved, you’ll become a permanent resident of the United States. It is important to point out that there is no annual cap on VAWA applications.



You Can Apply for VAWA if:

  • Your spouse is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and he or she battered or abused you or your child (under 21 years old)
  • Your parent or stepparent is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent and he or she battered or abused you (and you are unmarried and under 21)
  • Your adult child (over 21 years old) is a U.S. citizen and he or she battered or abused you.


Keep in mind that If you are applying as a battered or abused spouse, you must:

  • Have been (or still are) married to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and have lived together
  • If you divorced, you must be able to show a connection between the divorce and the abuse you suffered

vawa approval


What to Include With Form I-360

You must fill out Form I-360 and submit it to USCIS. You must also enclose the following evidence:

  • A declaration of the abuse you suffered
  • Evidence of the abuse such as police or hospital records
  • Police clearance records showing your criminal record
  • Proof that the abuser is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • Proof that you are the abuser’s spouse, child, or parent (marriage or birth certificate)
  • Proof that you lived with the abuser
  • Proof that you currently live in the United States


vawa evidence


After Your I-360 is Approved

Once USCIS receives your I-360 petition, it will be reviewed and approved if everything you stated is true. If USCIS needs more evidence, you will have 60 days to provide it. With an approved I-360, you can remain lawfully in the U.S. and can apply for work authorization.


vawa work permit


Contact Us to Evaluate Your VAWA Eligibility

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