VAWA Petitions for Children

The following guide is intended for applicants seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act.


The 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; o Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and Show that s/he has good moral character.


You must file USCIS Form I-360 and all supporting documents and fees, including evidence of your good faith marriage to your USC or LPR spouse, evidence of the abuse you suffered, proof that you resided with your spouse, and evidence of your good character. You must file the form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC). If you are a self-petitioning spouse or child and you meet all filing requirements, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days that you can present to government agencies that provide certain public benefits to victims of domestic violence. If your petition is approved and you do not have legal status in the United States, USCIS may place you in deferred action, which allows you to remain in the United States.

Eligibility for Children

Qualifying parent/child relationship: You are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser, or you are the child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser who lost citizenship or lawful permanent resident status due to an incident of domestic violence. You have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. You have resided with your abusive parent. You are a person of good moral character; a child less than 14 years of age is presumed to be a person of good moral character.

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