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Legal Information: Federal


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January 30, 2018

What are some additional requirements to self-petition under VAWA as a parent who has been abused by his/her USC son or daughter?

In addition to meeting the abusive relationship requirement explained in Who is eligible to self-petition?, you must meet all additional requirements listed below if you are self-petitioning as the parent of a US citizen (USC) son or daughter (son/daughter must be over 21 years old) who has abused you:

  • The USC (not LPR) son or daughter (son/daughter must be over 21 years old) abused his/her parent - You must be:
    • the parent of an abusive USC son or daughter who is still alive or who died within the past two years; or
    • the parent of a USC son or daughter who lost his/her citizenship within the past two years related to an incident of domestic violence.1
  • Battery or extreme cruelty - Your USC son or daughter (over 21 years old) must have battered you (physically abused you); or subjected you to “extreme cruelty.”1  Extreme cruelty is any form of power and control, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • being a victim of, or threatened with, an act of violence, forcible detention that results on physical or mental harm, psychological or sexual abuse, rape, molestation, incest, forced prostitution, and acts that may not appear violent but are part of a pattern of violence.2
  • You must have lived with your abusive son or daughter at some point;1 and
  • You must be a person of “good moral character.”1  Note: Even if you believe that you have committed an act which may affect your ability to prove good moral character (for example, certain crimes), please talk to an immigration lawyer with experience in VAWA to see if there is an exception available for your situation.

Note: This is the only category of self-petitioners where the abuser must be a USC – s/he cannot be an LPR.

1 INA § 204(a)(1)(A)(vii)
2 8 CFR § 204.2(c)(1)(vi)