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VAWA Processing Time

VAWA Processing Time

By Brian in Immigration | VAWA | on 2024-01-31 07:03:02

VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) immigration petitions take two years and two months to process on average. Sometimes, it takes up to two years and six months to process. If you file a green card application at the same time as the VAWA petition, the processing time can take an additional 12 months. All in all, some VAWA petitioners will wait 36 months until their cases are fully processed. Updated VAWA processing times are available on the USCIS website. 


What Is the Violence Against Women Act?

Undocumented immigrants are generally unwilling to notify the police if they’ve been the victim of a crime because they fear they will be deported. Many will even avoid hospitals, airports, and school authority figures out of this fear. Unfortunately, because of this, some realize that undocumented immigrants are “the perfect victims” of theft, abuse, and violence. For example, employers have been paying undocumented workers less than minimum wage without benefits for generations.


Finally, in 1994, Congress took a stand against one of the most heinous violations undocumented women were swallowing in silence—domestic violence. If you have relatives who are lawful permanent residents/citizens and you become the victim of domestic violence, you are eligible to self-petition for lawful status under VAWA. You do not need the perpetrator to be involved. Recently, Congress expanded the qualified forms of violence and abuse via the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022


Currently, for the purposes of VAWA, “violence against women” refers to:

  • child abuse and neglect
  • sexual assault (any conduct that meets the federal definition of sexual abuse)
  • domestic violence
  • elder abuse
  • dating violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • stalking 
  • financial abuse (controlling the victim’s ability to use, acquire, and maintain economic resources)
  • a pattern of coercive behavior attempting to gain or maintain power and control over the victim (psychological, verbal, or technological abuse that may or may not constitute criminal behavior)
  • threatened abuse (whether it was carried out or not) 


What About Victims Who Aren’t Women?

Despite its name, VAWA is not age or gender specific. It protects an expansive group of victims: 

  • transgender people
  • men
  • girls
  • boys
  • abused spouses
  • minor children of citizens/lawful permanent residents
  • unmarried children abused by citizens/lawful permanent resident parents or step-parents
  • abused parents of U.S. citizens


During your VAWA Processing Wait Time

It is imperative that you keep your contact information up-to-date during your petition processing time. You can also simply list your immigration attorney’s address. USCIS may contact you for further information at any point.


Use Form I-485 and I-765 to request legal permission to work while your petition is processing. If you need to briefly leave the United States during your processing time, you can also use Form I-485 so that USCIS knows you have not abandoned your petition.


We Are Compassionate, Skilled Austin VAWA Lawyers

  1. Sparks Law has handled a myriad of VAWA petitions. We are a full-service Austin VAWA attorney service, dealing with all types of immigration cases, from asylum to DACA. If you believe you qualify for a VAWA petition, please contact us for a free consultation. Hablamos español.

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