For victims of abuse who are eligible to self-petition.
EligibilityThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser's help or knowledge. To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must: Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage; Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith; Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.
Fill out Form I-360You will need to complete this form and accompany this form with documentary evidence that you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Submit the application to the appropriate service center for review.
Post-SubmissionAfter USCIS receives your I-360 petition, it will send a receipt notice to the address you have provided on the form. USCIS will then review the self-petition to see whether it can be approved if everything you stated within is true. This is called a "prima facie determination." If USCIS decides that your self-petition can be approved if it is true, it will send you a "Prima Facie Approval" letter. After sending this Prima Facie Approval letter, USCIS will do further review of your case and if more evidence is required, USCIS will request this from you.
Post-ApprovalAfter USCIS approves your I-360, you can begin to prepare your application to adjust your status. If the abuser was a U.S. citizen, then you are eligible to apply as soon as your I-360 has been approved. If the abuser was a permanent resident (green card holder), however, you will have to wait for a visa to become available in order to apply for your green card.