Early Access to Work Authorization For VAWA Self-Petitioners and U-Visa Applicants [pdf]

This NIWAP report, which was published in 2014, summarizes the purpose, history, and importance of work authorization for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. It also summarizes a 2013 NIWAP survey of service providers about the length of time their clients spent waiting for work authorization, what occurred during the waiting period, and their experiences after receiving work authorization.

The initial process of obtaining work authorization often takes too long and exposes immigrant survivors of violence to retaliation, coercion, and further harm including incidents of violence and abuse. This document includes recommendations on policy changes in processing VAWA self-petitions and U-Visa applications. It also includes an appendix with illustrative cases showing the impact of delays in processing times for VAWA self-petitioners and U-Visa applicants with a pending case.