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USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on VAWA Self-Petitions

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.

We are updating our 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.

We are 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. Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page to comment on this update. USCIS welcomes feedback on this guidance and will consider any comments received in future updates.


Link:, dated February 10, 2022 3:35 pm

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