Domestic Violence Program: Immigration

ImmigrationCurrently, DCVLP takes immigration cases from DC; Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland; and Arlington County and Alexandria City in Virginia. We provide representation in three types of immigration cases:

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions: VAWA self-petitions offer relief to abused spouses of either United States Citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). The U.S. generally requires someone to be “sponsored” by another person to gain permanent status. In this situation, the USC or LPR spouse has been abusive and is either refusing to sponsor the survivor or it is no longer feasible for them to do so. In a self-petition, the domestic violence victim asks the government to let the victim sponsor her/himself.

U-Visas: U-visas offer relief to someone who has been the victim of a violent crime and cooperates with law enforcement. If a U-Visa is approved, the survivor will receive a work permit and U-Visa status for four years. After three years, the survivor can apply to be a LPR. If that is approved, eventually the survivor can apply to be a USC. U-visas may also allow survivors to sponsor other family members for status.

T-Visas: T-visas are very similar to U-visas, but they are specifically for victims of trafficking.

Please note that these are general descriptions and do not guarantee someone will qualify for specific immigration relief. For more information on VAWA self-petitions, U visas, or T visas, please visit