When you decide to start with the process and having in mind all of the circumstances that you live in, probably you would like to know for how long you will need to wait until your VAWA is approved. When you file the I-360 form with the attached evidence, it may take between 16 to 21 months to process your VAWA petition fully. USCIS will issue a Prima Facie Determination Notice to VAWA petitioners who qualified and fulfilled requirements. When you receive such a notice, it is valid for 150 days. You can use it and present it to the government agencies providing public benefits to qualifying victims of domestic violence. However, below in this part of the article, you can find more helpful information on the time that comes after the submission of VAWA self-petitions.
When you file the I-360 petition and USCIS receives it, it will notify you about it. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will send a receipt notice to the address you have provided on the form. Then, it may also review the self-petition to assess whether it can be approved and whether your statements listed in the petition are true. This activity is called a “prima facie determination.”
If, during the assessment, the USCIS determines that your VAWA self-petition may be approved, it will deliver to you one more letter called Prima Facie Approval. Still, this will not mean that you are granted the green card yet. After this activity and after you received this Prima Facie Approval letter, the USCIS will thoroughly look at your VAWA application. In the meantime, the Prima Facie Approval letter that you received will bring you some benefits. It may qualify you for certain types of public assistance.
During the time that the USCIS took to look through your petition carefully, it may decide that it needs more evidence. This may be a case if USCIS lacks some information or proofs to determine whether it should approve your I-360. If this event, you will receive a letter with this demand. Having a deadline of 60 days, you have to provide new evidence to the USCIS, if you have any. Otherwise, you can confirm that you have already provided proof that you possessed and send such a notice.
If USCIS does not consider that you qualify as one of the categories mentioned above (the spouse, a parent, or a minor, unmarried child of a U.S. citizen), you can expect to receive a “Notice of Intent to Deny.” With this notification, the USCIS will state the reasons why it believes you do not qualify for a green card program. Also, with the letter, it will give you one more time an additional period within which you can send other evidence that will support your petition and maybe, convince the USCIS to change their mind. If you miss doing so, the USCIS will deny your self-petition. Moreover, USCIS can also deny the I-360 VAWA petition without even sending you a “Notice of Intent to Deny.”
On the other side, if USCIS believes you have provided enough evidence and you have succeeded in showing that you are a spouse, a parent, or a child of an abuser, you will receive an approval letter for your self-petition. Yet, this will not mean that you are a lawful permanent resident. However, the first step in the application process will be completed with this letter, and you can proceed to the next steps.