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Important note: Although courts may be closed or accepting limited cases due to COVID-19, there should still be a way to file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our Frequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19, or call your local courthouse for more details.

Legal Information: Federal

Immigration

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Updated: 
January 30, 2018

Can I file for a VAWA self-petition if I am in another country?

Assuming that the abuser is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and you are living abroad (in another country), you can file for a self-petition if any of the following are true:

  • The abuser is an employee of the U.S. government, and while you are/were both living abroad, s/he subjected you (or your child) to battery or extreme cruelty;
  • The abuser is a member of the uniformed services (the U.S. military), and while you are/were both living abroad, s/he subjected you (or your child) to battery or extreme cruelty; or
  • You are living abroad and you (or your child) were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the abuser while you were in the United States.1 (It does not matter if the abuser is living with you abroad or not.)

1 INA §§ 204(a)(1)(A)(v), (a)(1)(B)(iv)