Immigration Relief for Victims of Family Violence

Authored By
Education for Justice
Domestic violence and sexual assault are crimes in the United States.
If you or someone in your family has been hurt or if you worry about your safety, call the police or a domestic violence shelter right away.

Talk to an immigration lawyer if you are the victim of:

  • domestic violence
  • sexual assault
  • emotional cruelty
  • threatening behavior or         
  • other types of abusive behavior

You might be able to get or improve your immigration status.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and other federal laws help some people who are victims of violence in the U.S. with their immigration status. In some cases, victims can apply for things like legal status, permission to work, protection from deportation in some immigration court actions, and permanent resident status.

The 4 most common ways for victims of abuse and domestic violence to get immigration help are:

  • Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Also called a VAWA petition, a self-petition or an abused spouse petition.
  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Also called an I-751 waiver petition.
  • Form I-918, petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. Also called a U visa or U status petition.
  • Form I-589, application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal.

Each of these options is discussed in more detail below.

To see any of the forms talked about in this fact sheet go to Find a lawyer to help you file any of these forms. A lawyer is important because if your case is not approved you could be put in removal (deportation) proceedings.

I-360 VAWA Petition (Petition for Amerasians, Widow(er), or Special Immigrants)

I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

I-918 U Nonimmigrant Status or U visa

Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal