Special Immigrant Abused Spouse, Child, or Parent Under VAWA

In General

As a abused spouse, child, or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing

The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization.

Help is also available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 (TTY:(800) 787-3224). For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.


The following people are eligible to apply for a Green Card under this category:

  • Spouses: You may file for yourself if you are, or were, the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You may also file as an abused spouse if your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. You may include on your petition your unmarried children who are under 21 if they have not filed for themselves;
  • Parents: You may file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen who has abused you;
  • Children: You may file for yourself if you are unmarried, under 21, and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent. You may also include your children on your petition. You may file for yourself as a child after age 21 but before age 25 if you can demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.