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Legal Information: Federal

Immigration

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Updated: 
May 17, 2021

If my self-petition is approved, when can I apply for lawful permanent residence (green card)?

You may be able to file for lawful permanent residence at the time of filing the VAWA self-petition or you may need to wait several years after the self-petition is approved before you can file, depending on various factors, which we discuss below.

Also, in addition to filling out the necessary forms, your lawyer will have to show that the special barriers to getting status, which are known as the “grounds of inadmissibility,” do not apply to you, or that you qualify for a waiver, which means you should get status even if they do apply to you. For more information, see What are the “grounds of inadmissibility” and how can they affect my chances of getting lawful permanent residence?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, you and your attorney may be able to file for your lawful permanent residence at the same time that you file your VAWA self-petition (Form I-360) or at any time after that:

  • Is/was the abuser your US citizen spouse?
  • Is/was the abuser your US citizen parent?
  • Is/was the abuser your US citizen child who is age 21 or older?1

If your abusive spouse or parent is a lawful permanent resident, you may have to wait several years to file for lawful permanent residence. Exactly when you can file is determined by a complicated system.2 You will need to work with an immigration attorney to figure out when you can file, what forms you will need to use, and what else you will need to show. If you file the wrong forms, fill them out incorrectly, or do not explain why any special barriers that apply to you should not count, you may end up in immigration court facing deportation.

1 INA § 201(b)(2)(A)(i)
2USCIS website – Visa Availability and Priority Dates