Violence Against Women Act

The violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows for certain close relatives of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen to apply for a green card if they have been abused or subject to extreme cruelty by their family member.

Under VAWA, you may apply for a green card if you are a survivor of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
  • A U.S. citizen parent;
  • A U.S. citizen child;
  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
  • An LPR parent.

To apply for VAWA protection, file Form I-360 without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner.


The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

This handbook is intended for use by pro bono attorneys and immigration attorneys working on LGBTQ/HIV asylum cases.

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