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Legal Information: Federal

Immigration

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Updated: 
May 17, 2021

What happens after my lawyer files my self-petition?

After your attorney files your self-petition, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sends a receipt to the address you provided on your application. That receipt will tell you what date USCIS received your application.

Be sure to use a safe address where the abuser will not get the mail and where you can be sure that you will receive it. USCIS may later request additional evidence from you so it’s very important to use an address where you will be sure to receive mail. Many people use their lawyer’s office address.

If the USCIS believes that you would meet all of the requirements if all of the information in your application were true, it will issue an “establishment of prima facie case” notification. This notice is a letter that you can use to get certain public benefits, depending on your state’s laws. Please consult with an attorney familiar with public benefits for immigrants to determine what public benefits you may be eligible for. The notice of prima facie case does not mean that USCIS has approved your VAWA self-petition.