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Immigration Law- How to Apply for a VAWA Self-Petition

Immigration Law- How to Apply for a VAWA Self-Petition

Typically, a green card holder cannot seek to become a naturalized U.S. citizen for five years. However, those who were approved for U.S. residency based on abusive situations under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) may be able to apply for U.S. citizenship after three years instead of the 5-year waiting period.

VAWA self-petitioners with an approved I-360 and approved green card, can seek naturalization if they are an abused spouse or child and meet some additional requirements. This doesn’t hinge on whether a person is married or divorced or if the spouse or parents have died.

How to Apply for Naturalization Using Form N-400

The United States Citizenship Immigration Service website doesn’t make it clear on how to file for naturalization using form N-400. Since the form doesn’t have a specific box to check as a VAWA eligible petitioner, you’ll want to check the “other” box. In the explanation section, you can site VAWA I.N.A § 319(a) which states you’re a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and have been so for at least three years.

The three year rule for citizenship usually is limited to people “living in marital union” with a US citizen. However, the law allows for people who won their green cards through VAWA – who were abused by their US citizen spouse – to also apply under this three year rule!

If you won your green card through VAWA, and if you are interested in applying for citizenship – our immigration attorneys and professionals at Landerholm Immigration can help you! Our compassionate team is here to help, and we invite you to talk with us about your situation. Contact us today.


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