Table of Contents

The Battered Non-Citizens section includes the following information:




Petitions/ Self- Petitions

Self-Petitions - Widowed

Self-Petitions – Family Based

Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation

BCIS Petition Inquiries
Battered Non-Citizens with Deferred Action Decisions
Federal Eligibility
State Eligibility



The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allowed certain battered non-citizens to self-petition for legal permanent residence without the knowledge of the abuser or sponsor.


Petitions/ Self- Petitions

Battered non-citizens may apply directly (self-petition) to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (BCIS) for a lawful permanent residence, under the following types of petitions:


Self-Petitions/Prima Facie (Utilizing form I-360)

Battered non-citizens may self-petition to obtain legal permanent residence or can apply to establish a “Prima Facie” determination.  Self-petitions are defined as:


·         A non-citizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR) who has been abused by the spouse in the U.S.; or


·         A non-citizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR whose child has been abused by the U.S. citizen or LPR parent in the U.S.; or


·          A non-citizen child of a U.S. citizen or LPR who has been abused by the U.S. citizen or LPR parent in the U.S.; and


·         Who has resided with the parent or spouse in the U.S.


A prima facie determination is defined as:


·         A petition in which BCIS reviews supporting evidence of abuse, provided by the battered non-citizen, and makes an interim decision pending approval or denial of the petition.


A prima facie approval notice is valid for 150 calendar days after issuance.  The BCIS documents that indicate an approved self-petition or a prima facie determination is the I-797 or I-1797C.  These documents must show approval or prima facie determination of an I-360.


Self-Petitions – Widowed

A self-petition by a widow(er) is defined as:


·        A non-citizen who is the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen who was married for at least two years at the time of the spouse’s death.


The BCIS document indicating approval of petitions by a widow(er) is the I-797 or the I-797C.  This document must indicate approval of an I-360 based on the status of the widower.


Self-Petitions – Family Based

A family based petition is based on family linkage and is defined as:


·       Non-citizen spouses, unmarried sons and unmarried daughters of a

U.S. citizen or LPR; or

·       Non-citizen married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens


The document indicating approval of a family based petition is the BCIS form I-797, which indicates approval of an I-130. The I-130 must contain the following requested relationship information:


·       Husbands or wives of U.S. citizens or LPRs, or

·       Unmarried children under 21 years old of U.S. citizens or LPRs, or

·       The unmarried sons or daughters age 21 or older of LPRs.


A battered non-citizen that has attained LPR status through a petition is considered a “qualified non-citizen”.   


Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation

A non-citizen in deportation proceedings can petition the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) immigration courts for a cancellation of removal/suspension (Filing with an immigration court utilizing forms EOIR-42B or EOIR-40) of deportation if:


·       The non-citizen has been abused by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse in the U.S; or

·       The U.S. citizen or LPR parent in the U.S has abused the non-citizen’s child.


An approved petition in this situation can be a final court order or a notice from an Immigration Judge, Board of Immigration Appeals, or a Federal court granting a cancellation of Removal Suspension of Deportation.


BCIS Petition Inquiries

In the event a battered non-citizen has a pending petition, staff may submit an inquiry to the Vermont BCIS Service Center on the status or to obtain verification of approval of the petition, as follows: 

·         Fax inquiries to the Vermont BCIS Service Center at (802) 527-3159.   

·         Inquiries on Cancellation of Removal/Suspension of Deportation petitions, staff may contact the EOIR - Immigration Courts of California located at the following:



2409 La Brucherie Road

Imperial, CA 92251-0000

     Phone:  (760) 355-0070

Fax:  (760) 355-8692


San Francisco

550 Kearny Street, Suite 800

San Francisco, CA 94108-000


Mailing Address

P.O. Box 2326

San Francisco, CA 94126-2326

Phone: (415) 705-4415 Ext. 221 or 225

Fax: (415) 705-4418



Mira Loma Facility

45100 N. 60th Street, West

Lancaster, CA  93536-7607

Phone: (661) 942-8633

Fax: (661) 945-9720


San Pedro

BCIS San Pedro Service Process Center

2001 Seaside Avenue, Room136

San Pedro, CA  90731-7356

Phone: (310) 732-0753

Fax: (310) 732-0757


Los Angeles

606 S. Olive Street, Suite 1500

Los Angeles, CA 90014-0000

Phone: (213) 894-2811

Fax (213) 894-5196





San Diego

401 West A Street, Suite 800

San Diego, Ca 92101

Phone: (619) 557-6052

Fax: (619) 557-6405


Otay Mesa Border Station

2500 Pasco International

Phone: (619) 661-3119

Fax: (619) 661-3190


880 Front Street, Room B-269

Phone: (619) 557-7647

Fax: (619) 557-7655


Or fax a request to the EIOR.


Staff must use the regular process of sending a G-845 form to the local BCIS office for inquiries on approved family based petitions.


Note:  All requests for information must be approved and signed by the District Manager or the Assistant District Manager.


Battered Non-Citizens with Deferred Action Decisions

In addition to receiving an approved self-petition, a battered non-citizen may also be granted deferred action.  Battered non-citizens that present a document indicating they have deferred action are eligible for CalWORKs.  Deferred action means that BCIS has chosen not to initiate removal (deportation) proceedings against the battered non-citizen for the period specified on the BCIS document.


Federal Eligibility

Federal law allows some battered non-citizens to be eligible for Federal funding as “qualified non-citizen”.  The four specific requirements for Federal eligibility are:


·     The non-citizen has an approved petition from BCIS or EIOR which sets forth a prima facie case; and


·     The non-citizen or the non-citizen’s child or parent has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty within the U.S. by his/her spouse, parent, or member of a family residing in the same household; and


·     There is a substantial connection between the abuse and the need for benefits and


·     The non-citizen no longer resides with the batterer.


State Eligibility

Battered non-citizens whose petition or prima facie determination are in pending status and not approved are considered state eligible, as long as all other eligibility criteria are met.