En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws:

UPDATED April 20, 2013

VAWA Laws for Abuse Victims

Print this page
View All

Immigration laws can be extremely complicated.  Here we provide some basic information about immigration benefits available to victims of domestic violence. WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you consult with an immigration lawyer with experience in VAWA before applying for any type of immigration status to see if you qualify for these or other forms of immigration relief.  You may contact us through our Email Hotline if you would like referrals to organizations with experience in VAWA in your state. For national organizations with experience in general immigration law, please see our Immigration/ International page.  You can also find legal referrals on our Finding a Lawyer page.

VAWA cancellation of removal

back to topWhat is VAWA cancellation of removal?

If you are in removal proceedings (formerly known as deportation proceedings) before an immigration judge, and you are abused by your USC or LPR spouse or parent (or you have a child with the USC or LPR who is abused by him/her), it might be possible to apply for “VAWA cancellation of removal.”*  If an application for cancellation of removal is granted, the removal process can be ended and you can receive legal permanent residence.**  Because to be eligible to apply for VAWA cancellation of removal you have to be in removal proceedings, it is extremely important that you have an immigration attorney with experience in VAWA to advise you and represent you.  To determine if you qualify for VAWA cancellation of removal or another form of immigration relief, you should consult with an immigration lawyer with experience in VAWA.

To determine if you qualify for a VAWA self-petition or another form of immigration relief, you should consult an immigration lawyer with experience in VAWA.  Our Immigration/ International page lists national organizations working in the area of immigration law and our Finding a Lawyer page includes the contact information of legal organizations and lawyer referral services by state.

* INA § 240A(b)(2), 8 CFR § 1240.11(a)(1)
** INA § 240A(b)(2)(A)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWho is eligible for VAWA cancellation of removal?

You may be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal if you fall under one of the following categories and meet all other requirements for cancellation of removal:

  • You have been battered or suffered extreme cruelty by a spouse who is/was a USC or LPR;
  • You have been battered or suffered extreme cruelty by a parent who is/was a USC or LPR;
  • You and a USC or LPR have a child together and the child has been battered or suffered extreme cruelty by the USC or LPR parent;* or
  • You have been battered or suffered extreme cruelty by a person who is a USC or LPR who you thought you had married, but the marriage is not legitimate because the USC or LPR committed bigamy (was already married at the time).**
* INA §§ 240A(b)(2)(A)(i)(I)&(II)
** INA § 240A(b)(2)(A)(i)(III)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topIf the VAWA cancellation of removal is approved, what can I get?

If your application for cancellation of removal is granted, the removal process can be ended and you can receive legal permanent residence.*

* INA § 240A(b)(2)(A)

Did you find this information helpful?
WomensLaw.org is grateful to Gail Pendleton, Esq., Co-Director of ASISTA, for her invaluable help in editing this information.

back to top