Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 

The Violence Against Women Act allows certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders) who have been subjected to extreme cruelty or battery to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser's knowledge. This can lead to a Green Card.

VAWA allows certain abused family members of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents to file a self-petition independently of the abuser. Importantly, VAWA is gender-neutral; men who are abused may also apply. Eligibility includes abused spouses, children (unmarried and under 21), and, in some cases, parents. To apply, one must complete Form I-360 and provide evidence of the abuse (police reports, court documents, medical records), proof of the relationship with the abuser, and evidence of the abuser's citizenship or permanent resident status.

VAWA Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for VAWA protection, applicants must meet specific criteria: 

1. Relationship to the Abuser: 

2. Must be the abused spouse, child (under 21 and unmarried), or parent of a U.S. citizen or LPR. Abused spouses can also include children who were not directly abused by the U.S. citizen or LPR parent. Abuse: 

3. Must have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen or LPR relative. This includes physical violence, threats, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and other forms of harm. 

4. Residence in the U.S. with the Abuser: Generally, the applicant must have lived with the abuser in the U.S. at some point, though exceptions exist such as for U.S. Service Members. 

5. Good Moral Character: The applicant must demonstrate good moral character. Certain criminal offenses or immigration violations can impact this requirement, but waivers are available in some circumstances.

Benefits of VAWA Approval 

Legal Status: Successful VAWA petitioners can obtain legal status in the U.S., including a work permit while their case is pending and eventually a Green Card (Lawful Permanent Resident status). 

Pathway to Citizenship: Once a VAWA petitioner has obtained a Green Card, they can apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting all eligibility requirements for naturalization. Vawa applicants who obtained their green card through VAWA they maybe eligible to 

No Dependency on Abuser: VAWA allows victims to seek legal status independently, removing the control the abuser might have had over their immigration status. 

Access to Public Benefits: Successful VAWA petitioners may become eligible for certain public benefits depending on their status.


At Cruise Law Group, our firm offers comprehensive suite of services to individuals seeking relief under VAWA. We provide personalized legal guidance through the application process, ensuring that all evidence is thoroughly prepared and presented to improve the chances of a favorable outcome. 

We accept VAWA clients throughout the United States. 

Application Process Filing Form I-360 (VAWA): 

The VAWA self-petition is filed using Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. This form can be filed regardless of the applicant's current immigration status and can be done without the abuser's knowledge or consent. 

Evidence: Applicants must provide evidence of the abusive relationship, including proof of the relationship to the abuser (marriage certificates, birth certificates), evidence of the abuse (police reports, court records, medical records, therapist's letters), proof of abuser's U.S. citizenship or LPR status, and evidence of cohabitation. Personal declarations detailing the abuse and its impact are also crucial. Confidentiality: 

The VAWA application process is confidential, prohibiting USCIS from disclosing any information to the abuser.

Special Considerations 

Gender Neutrality: VAWA protections are not limited to women. Men who are abused by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, parent, or child are equally eligible for VAWA protections. 

Removal Proceedings: VAWA applicants can also seek cancellation of removal if they are in deportation proceedings, offering a way to remain in the U.S. despite being placed in removal proceedings. The criteria to qualify for VAWA cancellation are precise and limited. The applicant is required to demonstrate that they have resided in the U.S. for a minimum of three years prior to submitting their application and that they exhibit good moral character. Additionally, they must have experienced abuse at the hands of a spouse or parent who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. It is also necessary to establish that deportation would lead to severe hardship for the applicant or their immediate family members, including children or parents

Work Authorization: Applicants can file for work authorization upon approval of their Form I-360, providing financial independence from the abuser. If the Abuser was a U.S. Citizen then the VAWA applicant is eligible to file the Green Card and work authorization concurrently with the VAWA application. However, if the Abuser was a U.S. Citizen then the VAWA applicant must wait for the approval of the VAWA befor filing the Adjustment of Status and