How can spousal abuse allow me to be a permanent resident?

By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano


If you entered into a good faith marriage but after the marriage your U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident spouse is abusing you, then you do not have to sacrifice to get your permanent resident.  You can immediately apply for a waiver of joint filing based on the information and document that you are an abused spouse.  Your dependent children can be included in this application to remove condition on residence.

If your abusive spouse has not filed a permanent resident petition for you, you may file the petition by yourself with the proof that you are an abused spouse.  A self petitioner who married an abusive U.S. citizen may file an adjustment of status at the same time that the self petition is filed.  If the spouse of the self petitioner is a lawful permanent resident he or she will have to wait until the I-360 petition is approved and the priority date for the second preference is current.  VAWA also applies to men who are abused by their spouse.  Spousal abuse includes physical or psychological abuse.  In physical abuse the best evidence is a police report or medical report while in a psychological abuse the evidence could be an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Question:         Who qualifies for self-petition and cancellation of removal under Violence against Women Act (VAWA)?

Answer:           The following qualify for self-petition and cancellation of removal:

  1. Abused spouse, former spouse, or intended spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  2. Abused child of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  3. Non-abusive parent of a child who was subjected to domestic violence or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent.


Question:         When can a self petitioner file an application for work authorization?

Answer:           A self petitioner is eligible for employment authorization upon approval of the self petition or upon filing of adjustment of status whichever comes first.

Question:         What are the advantages of adjustment of status under VAWA compared to the regular adjustment of status?

Answer:           VAWA adjustment of status has the following advantages:

  1. VAWA self petitioner need not have been inspected or admitted into the U.S. This means that “Entered without Inspection” or “present without authorization” are eligible under VAWA.
  2. Having worked without authorization is not a bar to adjustment.
  3. Having overstayed a nonimmigrant visa or having violated the terms of nonimmigrant visa is not a bar to adjustment.
  4. Having been admitted as a nonimmigrant under “D” [crewmember], “C” [alien in transit without a visa], or “S” [government witness] does not disqualify self petitioner from adjustment of status. The regular adjustment of status provision does not allow them to adjust.
  5. Having been admitted under Visa Waiver program is not a bar to adjustment.
  6. Self petitioners do not have to pay the $1000 penalty if they adjust status under Sec. 245(i).

Note:   This is not a legal advice.  The Law Office of Crispin C. Lozano has successfully received approvals for many VAWA cases


  1. On May 25, 2017, we received an approval of Form I-140 for a caregiver from the Philippines.
  2. On April 28, 2017, we received an approval of N-400 for a client who was under Removal Proceedings before.
  3. On April 21, 2017, we received an approval of I-601A Provisional Waiver for a client who was denied I-601A before from a previous lawyer.
  4. On March 22, 2017, we received an Immigrant Visa approval for a child of Permanent Resident who is already 25 years of age but classified as minor under CSPA.
  5. On March 8, 2017, we received an approval of Provisional Waiver from USCIS for a seaman client.
  6. On March 2, 2017 we received an approval of Dismissal of Criminal Case for a client who is in Removal Proceedings.
  7. On February 23, 2017, we received an approval of Naturalization of a client whose spouse had a prior misrepresentation.
  8. On January 7, 2017, we received an approval of Provisional Waiver for a client who entered as crewman but has two autistic children.


If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation. 

Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.  He specializes in immigration law and personal injury.  For free consultation email or call ( 1-877-456-9266)


Toll Free 1-877-4LOZANO for free consultation or Schedule an Appointment