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USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on VAWA Self-Petitions

By Thomas Lee


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is publishing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual on eligibility, filing, and adjudication requirements addressing Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions to update practices and align USCIS policies with recent court decisions.

USCIS is updating its interpretation of the requirement for shared residence to occur during the qualifying spousal or parent-child relationship. Instead, the self-petitioner must demonstrate that they are residing or have resided with the abuser at any time in the past.

USCIS is also implementing nationwide the decisions in Da Silva v. Attorney General, 948 F.3d 629 (3rd Cir. 2020), and Arguijo v. United States, 991 F.3d 736 (7th Cir. 2021). Da Silva v. Attorney General held that when evaluating the good moral character requirement, an act or conviction is “connected to” the battery or extreme cruelty when it has “a causal or logical relationship.” Arguijo v. USCIS allows stepchildren and stepparents to continue to be eligible for VAWA self-petitions even if the parent and stepparent divorced.

These updates are in accordance with Executive Order 14012: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.

The new guidance can be found in the USCIS Policy Manual.

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. For a free consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Lee, please contact us.

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