VAWA Self-Petition

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows battered immigrants to petition for legal status in the United States without relying on abusive U.S.citizen or legal permanent resident spouses, parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) applications. This section contains information on VAWA history, regulation, legislation, reauthorization acts,  confidentiality provisions, sample materials, etc. for I-360 VAWA Self-Petition.

    VAWA History & Regulations

    VAWA Preamble (March 26, 1996)

    This interim rule amends the Immigration and Naturalization Service regulations on: Petition to classify alien as immediate relative of a United States citizen or as preference immigrant; Self-petitioning for certain battered or abused spouses and children.

    First INS VAWA Memo (April 16, 1996)

    Implementation of the Crime Bill Self-Petitioning for Abused or Battered Spouses or Children of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. This is the first government memo on self-petitioning, so changes in the law may have affected some of it, but the information on annulments (p. 6) and transferring previous priority dates (p. 2) is still valid and helpful. 

    VAWA Legislative History: Congressional Record (October 11, 2000)

    See several new provisions incorporated in this document, their proper interpretation and administration. 

    VAWA 2000: P.L. 106-386 1502(a) Findings and Purposes (October 28, 2000)

    VAWA 2000: An Act to combat trafficking in persons, specially into the sex trade, slavery, and involuntary servitude, to reauthorize certain Federal programs to prevent violence against women, and for other purposes. 

    VAWA Confidentiality Provisions

    First INS Memorandum: Non-Disclosure and Other Prohibitions Relating to Battered Aliens: IIRIRA 384 (May 5, 1997)

    This first INS memo on the special confidentiality provisions and protections against using information from abusers remains the best government document on this issue. Read along with 8 USC 1367 and other documents in this section.

    ICE 384 Memo (January 22, 2007)

    This ICE memo provides interim guidance concerning the expanded confidentiality protections of the VAWA 2005 and the legislation's requirements that ICE issue a certificate of compliance in certain circumstances.

    8 USC 1367 Violation Reporting (March 2011)

    This document contains information regarding to penalties for disclosure of information relating to battered or abused immigrants as well as use of information obtained from batterers and their families. It also provides contact information to report violation of VAWA confidentiality.

    VAWA Legislation and Statutes

    Immigration and Naturalization Act

    Link to USCIS page with the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA).

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Eligibility for EADs for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants (July 29, 2016)

    This memo applies to certain abused spouses who were last admitted to the United States under non-immigrant visa holders, and may obtain employment authorization under INA section 106 for a period of 2 years.

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: VAWA Amendments to the Cuban Adjustment Act  (July 29, 2016)

    The amendment of this memo provide for continued eligibility for adjustment of status under section 1 of the CAA for an abused spouses or child of a qualifying Cuban principal.

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Exception to the Two-Year Custody and Residency Requirements for Abused Adopted Children (July 14, 2014)

    This memo provides guidance to  USICS officers in adjudicating VAWA cases, filed by a self-petitioning adopted child,  when the adopted child has been battered or abused.

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Request for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny (Junes 3, 2013)

    The purpose of this policy memorandum (PM) is to clarify the role of Requests for Further Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) in the adjudication of petitions, applications, and other requests. It revised Chapter 10.5(a) of the Adjudicators' Field Manual (AFM)- AFM Updated AD12-04.

    USCIS Draft Policy Memorandum EAD VAWA (December 12, 2012)

    This policy memorandum (PM) provides guidance to USCIS officers regarding an amendment to the that provides eligibility for employment authorization to the beneficiary of an approved VAWA self-petition. This PM revises Adjudicators' Field Manual (AFM) Chapters 21.14(I) and 30.13 (AFM Update AD07-16).  The guidance contained in the PM will become effective, in advance of regulatory amendment, once the new information collection is approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Continued Eligibility to File for Child VAWA Self-Petitioners After Attaining Age 21 (September 6, 2011)

    This policy memorandum (PM) provides guidance on VAWA self-petitions for "children" who file between age 21 and 25. 

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Eligibility to Self-Petition as a Battered or Abused Parent of a U.S. Citizen (August 31, 2011)

    This policy memorandum (PM) details the revision to the Adjudicators' Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 21.15 (AFM Updated AD 06-32).

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: Revocation of VAWA-Based-Self-Petitions (Forms I-360)(December 15, 2010)

    This policy memorandum (PM) restates the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) revocation policy.

    USCIS Memorandum: Adjudicating Forms I-212 for Aliens Inadmissible Under Section 212(a)(9)(C) or Subject to Reinstatement Under Section 241(a)(5) in light of Gonzalez v. DHS 508 F.3d. 1227 (9th Cir. 2007) (May 19, 2009)

    This policy memorandum (PM) offers information regarding Reapplication of Admission and Adjustment of Status after a prior Removal Order or inadmissibility under  section 212 (a)(9)(C)(i)(II). 

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Consolidation of Guidance Concerning Unlawful Presence for Purposes of Sections 212(a)(9)(B)(i) and 212(a)(9)(C) (May 6, 2009) 

    This policy memorandum (PM) details USCIS revisions and regulation on unlawful presence and inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) and (C). 

    USCIS Memorandum: Revised Guidance for Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) (May 6, 2008) 

    This memorandum guidance significantly modifies a prior interpretation of certain provision under CSPA. In particular, it changes how the agency interprets the statute to apply to aliens who age out prior to the enactment date of the CSPA. It also permits those individuals who were ineligible under the prior policy to file a new application for permanent residency. Under certain circumstances, this guidance also permits those individuals who were previously denied for CSPA to file motions to reopen or reconsider without filing fee. It also explains what steps certain aliens who do not automatically benefit from the CSPA can take to protect their status as a child.

    USCIS Fact Sheets on VAWA Self-Petitioners (April 21, 2008)

    This memorandum offers guidelines and clarification on matting the "extreme hardship", "battered or subjected to extreme cruelty", and "credible evidence" under VAWA.

    USCIS Memorandum: Adjustment of Status for VAWA Self-Petitioner Who is Present Without Inspection (April 11, 2008)

    This memo offers information on the policy allowing adjustment of status to VAWA petitioners who do not have "inspection and admission or parole" status.

    ICE Memorandum: Interim Guidance Relating to Officer Procedure Following  Enactment of  VAWA 2005 (January 22, 2007)

    ICE memo focusing on confidentiality, determining admissibility or deportability solely by information from people involved in the battery or extreme cruelty, etc. 

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Disposition of Cases Involving Removable Aliens (July 11, 2006)

    This is one of the several memoranda discussing CIS discretion to not place non-citizens in removal proceedings in certain circumstances, including VAWA (p. 2) (but read the whole memo). Read along with other documents in this section.

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Legal and Discretionary Analysis for Adjudication (May 3, 2006)

    Reminder for USCIS adjudicators to follow the typical approach of law enforcement checks, legal analysis, waivers, with special attention to discretionary analysis. 

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Eligibility to Self-Petition as a Battered Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Within Two Years of the Abuser's Loss of Status (October 31, 2005)

    This is an amendment allowing self-petitioning eligibility for spouses and children of abusive U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents if the abuser lost his or her status "related to" or "due to" domestic violence during the two-year period immediately preceding the petition.

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Clarification of Classes of Aliens Eligible for Naturalization under Section 319(a) on the INA as Amended by the VTVPA (January 27, 2005)

    Clarification that individuals who obtained lawful permanent residence by an approved waiver of the joint filing requirement under section 216 (c)(4)(C) of the INA are also eligible for naturalization under section 319(a).

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Determination of Good Moral Character in VAWA-Based Self-Petitions (January 19, 2005)

    The purpose of this memorandum is to inform U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators at the Vermont Service Center (VSC) of the change of the law concerning determination of good moral character made in connections with VAWA-based self-petitions (Form I-360). This memorandum on good moral character should be read along with its two attachments and accompanying notes, and the ASISTA newsletter article on good moral character from fall 2008, located below.

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Revocation of VAWA-Based Self-Petitions (I-360s) (August 5, 2002)

    This memo prohibits local CIS offices from re-adjudicating self-petitions. Useful tool for educating local officers about their role in adjusting self-petitioners. 

    Attachment 1 to previous Memo: Waivable Conduct Contained in the Statutory Bars to Establishing Good Moral Character (January 2005)

    This first attachment to the good moral character memo provides a chart of various statutory bars to establishing good moral character and whether they are "waivable" for purposes of overcoming good moral character problems for VAWA self-petitioners. CIS has acknowledged that its reference to 212(a)(9)(A) is no longer statutorily accurate; that bar applies to bigamy at 212(a)(10), not prior removals at (9)(A).

    Attachment 2 to previous Memo: Authorities Affecting False Testimony Determinations (January 2005)

    This second attachment to the good moral character memo discusses the standards for the good moral character bar based on false testimony. Please not that the only false USC claim that IS a bar to GMC is a false claim to vote. General false claims to USC are NOT a GMC bar but implicates the "residual" GMC category. CIS agrees with this approach, so to the degree that this memo implies otherwise, it is legally inaccurate. 

    UCISC Interoffice Memorandum: Age-Out Protection Afforded Battered Children Pursuant to CSPA  and VTVPR (August 17, 2004)

    The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) personnel concerning these tow laws.

    DOJ-Policy Memorandum: Instructions Regarding the Expanding Meaning of Section 319(a)(October 15, 2002)

    This memo is issued in order to provide guidance in the adjudication of application for Naturalization (Form N-400).

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Revocation of VAWA-Based Self-Petitions (I-360s) (August 5, 2002)

    This memo prohibits local CIS offices from re-adjudicating self-petitions. Useful tool for educating local officers about their role in adjusting self-petitioners. 

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Unlawful Presence and Authorized Periods of Stay (June 12, 2002)

    This memo provides a list of situations in which a person would qualify for an authorized period of stay, temporary protected status (TPS), or deferred enforced departure (DED).

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Eligibility to Self-Petition as a Battered Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Within Two Years of Divorce (January 2, 2002) 

    This memo states that is the self-petitioner can demonstrate that the divorce from the abusive spouse is connected to the battering or extreme mental cruelty and the self -petitioner files his/her self-petition within two years of the divorce, that self-petition should not be denied on the grounds that a legal marriage no longer exists.

    INS Paul Virtue Memo on Any Credible Evidence Standard and Extreme Hardship Factors (10/16/1998)

    This old memo has excellent language near the end on the "any credible evidence" standard -- "documentary requirements"-- and why it exists. The discussion of "extreme hardship" is no longer relevant to VAWA self-petitions but may be helpful to those seeking VAWA cancellation, where that requirement still exists. Click here to see the Paul Virtue Memo on Any Credible Evidence Standard and Extreme Hardship in word version. 

    DOJ Memorandum: Supplemental Guidance on Battered Alien Self-Petitioning Process and Related Issues (May 6, 1997)

    Some of this second INS memo on self-petitioning has been supplanted by subsequent statutory changes, but the actions on what CIS districts are supposed to do (pages 6-7) and the prima facie/public benefit system (pages 4-5 and attachments) are still valid and helpful.

    First INS VAWA Memo: Implementation of the Crime Bill Self-Petitioning for Abused or Battered Spouses or Children of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (April 16, 1996)

    This is the first government memo on self-petitioning, so changes in the law may have affected some of it, but the information on annulments (p. 6) and transferring previous priority dates (p. 2) is still valid and helpful. 

    Genco Legal Opinion: Applicable of Sec. 216 INA to a K-1 Nonimmigrant who Adjusts More than Two Years After Marriage to Petitioner (June 4, 1993) 

    Whether a K-1 is eligible for adjustment of status more than two years after marriage to petitioner. 

    VAWA Overview/VAWA Reauthorization Acts

    Comments on USCIS VAWA EAD Guidance (January 10, 2013)

    Letter submitted on behalf of 70 national, regional, state and local organizations, and individuals expressing the comments regarding the Policy Memorandum, PM-602-XXX: Eligibility for Employment Authorization upon Approval of a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition; and, Eligibility for Employment Authorization for Battered Spouse of Certain Nonimmigrants ("VAWA EAD Guidance" or "Guidance") for your consideration.  

    VAWA 2013 and TVPRA: What Practitioners Need to Know

    The Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), combined with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA), was signed into law on March 7, 2013. This document provides an overview of substantive changes and technical fixes to both the VAWA and the TVPRA as well as practice pointers for attorneys and advocates on how to work with these new changes, prepared by ASISTA staff.

    Copyright @2013 by ASISTA Immigration Assistance. All rights reserved. This product or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used without express written permission from ASISTA Immigration Assistance.

    USCIS Fact Sheets on VAWA Self-Petitioners (April 21, 2008)

    This fact sheet clarifies the 2008 decision allowing self-petitioners who were formerly denied Adjustment of Status (because of illegal entry or entry without inspection) to file a motion to reopen.

    VAWA 2005: H.R 3402 with Senate Amendments (December 16, 2005)

    VAWA 2005: Amendment on the Act from the bill of the House of Representatives (H.R. 3402) entitled "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005".

    VAWA 2005 Analysis and Practice Pointers 

    Summary and practice pointers for the 2005 changes to VAWA, prepared by ASISTA staff. Special thank you to Evangelina Abriel and Susan Schreiber from CLINIC who contributed to the analysis.

    Copyright @2005 by ASISTA Immigration Assistance. All rights reserved. This product or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used without express written permission from ASISTA Immigration Assistance.

    VAWA 2005: Documento Informativo en Español

    Este documento informa las clausulas relativas a la inmigración en relación con la ley VAWA 2005, creado por Joanne Lin y Leslye Orloff de Legal Momentum. 

    Practice Advisory on Best Evidence, Credibility, and Any Credible Evidence Standard (May 29, 2004)

    This advisory, written by Gail Pendleton and Cecelia Friedman Levin, reviews two common ways in which applications may fail to sufficiently support the credibility of the  documentation supplied.

    Copyright @2004 by ASISTA Immigration Assistance. All rights reserved. This product or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used without express written permission from ASISTA Immigration Assistance.

    Eligibility for VAWA Self-Petitions

    Proof of Abuser USC or LPR Status

    Information about Obtaining Birth Certificates

    This website provides information about procedures and requirement for each state to get a copy of a birth certificate. You can use this information to try to get birth certificates to prove citizenship of an American-born United States Citizen Abuser.

    Good Faith Marriage

    Information about Obtaining Marriage Certificates

    This CDC website shows how to get marriage certificates to prove traditional marriages.

    States Recognizing Common Law Marriages

    This link to the National Conference of State Legislatures provides information on states that recognize common law marriages.

    USCIS VAWA Bigamy Memo (8/21/2002)

    This office memorandum Re: Eligibility to Self-Petition as an Intended Spouse of an Abusive U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, is to inform INS officers in the field that this provision applies to all self-petitions pending on or filed on or after October 28, 2000.

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Eligibility to Self-Petition as a Battered Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Within Two Years of Divorce (January 2, 2002) 

    This memo states that is the self-petitioner can demonstrate that the divorce from the abusive spouse is connected to the battering or extreme mental cruelty and the self -petitioner files his/her self-petition within two years of the divorce, that self-petition should not be denied on the grounds that a legal marriage no longer exists. 

    ASISTA Amicus Brief to AAO on VAWA Good Faith Marriage (February 2015)

    ASISTA Amicus Curiae Brief in support of applicant's appeal of the denial of her I-360 VAWA self-petition. 

    ASISTA Amicus Brief to AAO on VAWA Good Faith Marriage (December 2012)

    ASISTA Amicus Curiae Brief in support of applicant's appeal of the denial of her I-360 VAWA self-petition. 

    GFM Arguments for VSC in Support of the Amicus Brief for the Self-Petition of K-T

    These arguments for Vermont Service Center were written by Gail Pendleton, Co-Chair of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, in support of the amicus brief for the self-petition of K-T on the notice of intent to deny (NOID) on good faith marriage.

    GFM and Extreme Hardship Arguments for VSC in Support of the Amicus Brief for the Self-Petition of V A-G 

    These arguments for Vermont Service Center were written by Gail Pendleton, Co-Chair of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, in support of the amicus brief for the self-petition of V A-G on the notice of intend to deny (NOID) on good faith marriage and battery or extreme cruelty 

    Islamic Marriage Contracts: A Resource Guide for Legal Professionals, Advocates, Imams, & Communities (2012)

    This guide was written by Maha Alkhateeb, Peaceful Families Project, Institute of Domestic Violence and Battered Women's Justice Project.

    Matter of T: Deportation Proceedings  (November 25, 1959)

    Where evidence of fraud of marriage to a U.S. citizen was found insufficient to support respondent's deportation under section 241(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, deportation on invalid visa charge under section 241(a)(1) is also precluded when predicated upon the same evidence of fraudulent marriage. Act of 1952-Section 241(a)(1) [8 U.S.C. 1251(a)- inadmissible at time of entry, not non-quota immigrant.

    Battery or Extreme Cruelty

    Power and Control Wheel

    Representation of the different tactics of power and control used against immigrant women.

    Español: Rueda del Poder y Control

    Representación de las diferentes tácticas de poder y control utilizadas contra mujeres inmigrantes.

    Domestic Violence Advocate Affidavit Guidelines

    These guidelines outline what kind of information affidavits should include, as well as factors that may prove extreme hardship.

    Motion for Leave to File Amici Curiae Brief and Appendix of Authorities In Support of Petitioner and Reversal (8/13/2010)

    Motion for Leave to File Amici Curiae Brief and Appendix of Authorities in Support of Petitioner and Reversal in Leiva-Mendoza vs. Holder, an Appeal in the 8th Circuit, by the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, Legal Momentum, the Family Violence Prevention Fund and ASISTA Immigration Assistance Project.

    ASISTA Newsletter Fall 2006: Extreme Cruelty: What it is and How to Prove it

    ASISTA Newsletter Fall 2006, includes an article by Sally Kinoshita on recognizing and proving extreme cruelty on VAWA self-petitions.  

    Extreme Cruelty Notice of Action from Vermont Service Center (June 2001)

    Example notice of a request for further evidence (RFE) on extreme cruelty from the Vermont Service Center on a VAWA self-petition application.

    Extreme Hardship Article Pre-Regulations, by Gail Pendleton (2/22/1999)

    Pre-regulations article on extreme hardship on VAWA cases written by Gail Pendleton, counsel for the Amici at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

    Amicus Brief on Extreme Cruely

    Amicus Brief, Leiva-Mendoza 8th Appeal Circuit (8/13/2010)

    Amicus Brief for the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, Legal Momentum, the Family Violence Prevention Fund and ASISTA Immigration Assistance Project, discusses extreme cruelty in the form of children witnessing abuse in the home, providing the history and purpose of VAWA as context and social science background.

    Good Moral Character

    ASISTA Newsletter Fall 2008: Analyzing Good Moral Character and Inadmissibility in VAWA Cases

    ASISTA Newsletter Fall 2008, includes an article by Sally Kinoshita on good moral character, inadmissibility and the relationship between the two. This article provides an overview and practice pointers for self-petitioning and later adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. 

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Determination of Good Moral Character in VAWA-Based Self-Petitions (January 19, 2005)

    The purpose of this memorandum is to inform U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators at the Vermont Service Center (VSC) of the change of the law concerning determination of good moral character made in connections with VAWA-based self-petitions (Form I-360). This memorandum on good moral character should be read along with its two attachments and accompanying notes, and the ASISTA newsletter article on good moral character from fall 2008, located below.

    Attachment 1 to previous Memo: Waivable Conduct Contained in the Statutory Bars to Establishing Good Moral Character (January 2005)

    This first attachment to the good moral character memo provides a chart of various statutory bars to establishing good moral character and whether they are "waivable" for purposes of overcoming good moral character problems for VAWA self-petitioners. CIS has acknowledged that its reference to 212(a)(9)(A) is no longer statutorily accurate; that bar applies to bigamy at 212(a)(10), not prior removals at (9)(A).

    Attachment 2 to previous Memo: Authorities Affecting False Testimony Determinations (January 2005)

    This second attachment to the good moral character memo discusses the standards for the good moral character bar based on false testimony. Please not that the only false USC claim that IS a bar to GMC is a false claim to vote. General false claims to USC are NOT a GMC bar but implicates the "residual" GMC category. CIS agrees with this approach, so to the degree that this memo implies otherwise, it is legally inaccurate. 

    AAO Decisions

    AAO Approves VAWA Petition Filed by 24 Years Old Applicant (July 24, 2012) 

    In this decision, the Administrative Appeals Office determined that being under an abusive parents' control qualified as "one central reason for filing delay" under INA 204 (a)(1)(D)(v) and therefore excuses the failure to file an I-360 self-petition before the applicant's 21st birthday.

    VAWA Forms and Instructions 

    I-360 Form, Instructions & Checklist

    Link to USCIS section on I-360, VAWA Self-Petition form, instructions and checklist.

    I-751 Form & Instructions

    Link to USCIS section on I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence form and instructions.

    I-485 Form & Instructions

    Link to USCIS section on I-485, Application to Register as Permanent Resident or Adjust Status form and instructions.

    I-765 Form & Instructions

    Link to USCIS section on I-765, Application to Employment Authorization form and instructions.

    I-212 Form & Instructions

    Link to USCIS section on I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal form and instructions. 

    I-601 Form, Instructions & Flowchart

    Link to USCIS section on I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility form, instructions and flowchart.

    I-912 Form & Instructions

    Link to USCIS section on I-912, Request for Fee Waiver form and instructions.

    VAWA Resources/Filing a VAWA Case

    Sample I-485 Hold in Abeyance Letter

    Sample letter to hold an I-485 adjustment of status application in abeyance pending the filling of an I-360 VAWA self-petition and invoking 8 USC 1367 VAWA confidentiality protections. Applicants should file their I-360 within 30 days of notifying CIS of their intent to file.  

    Sample Response to Request for Further Evidence (RFE)

    This sample is based off of an I-360 VAWA self-petition, and it is applicable when the adjudicator does not apply the correct standard of evidentiary review.

    Corrections and Clarification to Police Reports

    This form is an opportunity for applicants/advocates to correct and/or clarify a police report. This form would be specially important for cases where a language barrier created misunderstanding or false assumptions.

    Immigration Intake Form: Flagging Inadmissibility

    This intake provides important questions to ask to your client, and can be used as an intake form to determine how your client will best be served or if there is a case. 

    Declaration Guidelines for Victim of Crime Advocate on Substantial Abuse

    This article provides a description of what an advocate should include in their credentials, the victim's experience, and the victims's credibility.

    Presentación del USCIS de Cómo Navegar la Página Web en Español

    Esta presentación explica paso a paso como navegar el sitio web para ver el estatus de su caso.

    VAWA Adjustment of Status

    Advisories & Articles on VAWA Adjustment of Status

    ASISTA Practice Advisory: Updates on VAWA Adjustment (May 30, 2013)

    This practice advisory was created in response to reports of long delayed VAWA adjustment cases. In consultation with the Office of the CIS Ombudsman, this advisory contains updates in processing  as well as some practice pointers to avoid and to address delays in the processing of your cases.

    AIC Practice Advisory: The Child Status Protection Act (September/November 2009)

    The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), provides relief to children who “age-out” as a result of delays by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in processing visa petitions and asylum and refugee applications. 

    AIC Practice Advisory: USCIS Adjustment of Status of "Arriving Aliens" with an Unexecuted Final Order of Removal (November 6, 2008)

    This practice  advisory by Mary Kenney, is one of the three which discuss interim regulations that give USCIS jurisdiction over the adjustment applications of an "arriving alien" parolee who is in removal proceedings.

    Practice Advisory: Adjustment of Status of "Arriving Aliens" Under the Interim Regulations: Challenging the BIA's Denial of a Motion to Reopen, Remand, or Continue a Case (April 16, 2007)

    This practice advisory adopted by Mary Kenney,  is the third in a series about interim regulation, adopted May 12, 2006, which give USCIS jurisdiction over the adjustment applications of an "arriving alien" parolee who is in removal proceedings. It discusses how reinstatement of removal under 241(a)(5) applies to people generally, with some information at the end on VAWA. Should read with more recent CIS memo on I-212s.

    Legislation/Memos on VAWA Adjustment of Status

    USCIS Policy Memorandum: VAWA Amendments to the Cuban Adjustment Act  (July 29, 2016)

    The amendment of this memo provide for continued eligibility for adjustment of status under section 1 of the CAA for an abused spouses or child of a qualifying Cuban principal.

    USCIS Memorandum: Adjudicating Forms I-212 for Aliens Inadmissible Under Section 212(a)(9)(C) or Subject to Reinstatement Under Section 241(a)(5) in light of Gonzalez v. DHS 508 F.3d. 1227 (9th Cir. 2007) (May 19, 2009)

    This policy memorandum (PM) supersedes and rescinds entirely the March 31, 2006 memorandum entitled, "Effect of Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft on adjudication of Form I-212 application filed by aliens who are subject to reinstated removal orders under INA 241(a)(5)' (the "Perez-Gonzalez" memorandum).

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Consolidation of Guidance Concerning Unlawful Presence for Purposes of Sections 212(a)(9)(B)(i) and 212(a)(9)(C) (May 6, 2009) 

    This policy memorandum (PM) details USCIS revisions and regulation on unlawful presence and inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) and (C). 

    USCIS Fact Sheets on VAWA Self-Petitioners (April 21, 2008)

    This fact sheet clarifies the 2008 decision allowing self-petitioners who were formerly denied Adjustment of Status (because of illegal entry or entry without inspection) to file a motion to reopen.

    USCIS Memorandum: Adjustment of Status for VAWA Self-Petitioner Who is Present Without Inspection (April 11, 2008)

    This memo offers information on the policy allowing adjustment of status to VAWA petitioners who do not have "inspection and admission or parole" status.

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Disposition of Cases Involving Removable Aliens (July 11, 2006)

    This is one of the several memoranda discussing CIS discretion to not place non-citizens in removal proceedings in certain circumstances, including VAWA (p. 2) (but read the whole memo). Read along with other documents in this section.

    USCIS Interoffice Memorandum: Legal and Discretionary Analysis for Adjudication (May 3, 2006)

    Reminder for USCIS adjudicators to follow the typical approach of law enforcement checks, legal analysis, waivers, with special attention to discretionary analysis. 

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Revocation of VAWA-Based Self-Petitions (I-360s) (August 5, 2002)

    This memo prohibits local CIS offices from re-adjudicating self-petitions. Useful tool for educating local officers about their role in adjusting self-petitioners. 

    DOJ-INS Memorandum: Unlawful Presence and Authorized Periods of Stay (June 12, 2002)

    This memo provides a list of situations in which a person would qualify for an authorized period of stay, temporary protected status (TPS), or deferred enforced departure (DED).

    DOJ Memorandum: Supplemental Guidance on Battered Alien Self-Petitioning Process and Related Issues (May 6, 1997)

    Some of this second INS memo on self-petitioning has been supplanted by subsequent statutory changes, but the actions on what CIS districts are supposed to do (pages 6-7) and the prima facie/public benefit system (pages 4-5 and attachments) are still valid and helpful.

    Genco Legal Opinion: Applicable of Sec. 216 INA to a K-1 Nonimmigrant who Adjusts More than Two Years After Marriage to Petitioner (June 4, 1993) 

    Whether a K-1 is eligible for adjustment of status more than two years after marriage to petitioner. 

    Checklists/Templates for VAWA Adjustment of Status

    Immigration Intake Form: Flagging Inadmissibility

    This intake provides important questions to ask to your client, and can be used as an intake form to determine how your client will best be served or if there is a case. 

    I-485 Sample Hold in Abeyance Letter

    Sample letter to hold an I-485 adjustment of status application in abeyance pending the filling of an I-360 VAWA self-petition and invoking 8 USC 1367 VAWA confidentiality protections. Applicants should file their I-360 within 30 days of notifying CIS of their intent to file.

    I-824 Follow-to-Join Checklist

    Checklist for clients who have completed forms I-824 and I-485, and have a copy of approval notice of I-360.