What Happens After Receiving A Prima Facie Determination?

By Published On: April 28, 2023Categories: Vlog, Immigration

What Happens After Receiving A Prima Facie Determination?

When applying for a Green Card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition, establishing a prima facie case is beneficial. It furnishes safeguarding and advantages to those who have undergone domestic violence and abuse from a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. By understanding its role within the context of VAWA applications, you can maneuver through the immigration process with clarity and self-assurance.

Here, you will learn more about Prima Facie Determination, including its impact on applicants seeking permanent residency through a VAWA self-petition. You will also learn how an immigration attorney can assist you in this challenging endeavor.

An Experienced Immigration Lawyer Will Be Able To Assist And Support You In Your Prima Facie Determination Process

What Is Prima Facie Determination?

In immigration law, a Prima Facie Determination is the confirmation from the authorities that you have already submitted the required evidence after filing a VAWA self-petition. Therefore, it doesn’t constitute a final decision on the case. As a petitioner, you are responsible for continuing the process, gathering additional evidence, and awaiting a final verdict from immigration authorities.

Conversely, the absence of a Prima Facie Determination notice doesn’t automatically indicate a rejection of the VAWA petition; each case varies. It doesn’t signify a final ruling but indicates the applicant provided sufficient preliminary evidence to proceed.

While the evidence strengthens the case, you must supplement it accordingly. The application undergoes a comprehensive review, and the USCIS evaluates all evidence before determining eligibility for immigration relief.

Where Can You Use Prima Facie Determination?

In the complex landscape of immigration law, Prima Facie Determination plays a pivotal role in shaping the outcomes of various cases. While not a standalone benefit, you can use this notice as leverage in federal immigration proceedings and state benefits applications.

Imagine finding yourself in the midst of removal proceedings in an Immigration Court. In such scenarios, presenting a Prima Facie Determination to the judge could be influential. However, it’s important to note that the impact may vary depending on the discretion of each immigration judge.

Beyond removal proceedings, this notice can also be beneficial at various stages of the immigration process. It confirms the legitimacy of the evidence you submit when applying for a lawful permanent residence through VAWA. This notice provides a compelling initial impression of the merits of your case.

Furthermore, the use of Prima Facie Determination extends beyond a mere legal term. It becomes a strategic tool for individuals navigating the complexities of immigration proceedings. Receiving such notice is cause for celebration, indicating that the evidence submitted in the immigration application has been accepted in the case.

Upon obtaining the notice, you can seek an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for legal work in the United States during your pending VAWA self-petition. This determination can also grant access to domestic violence victim services and resources, encompassing legal advice, safe shelter assistance, and emotional support.

Indeed, Prima Facie Determination can be advantageous. However, you may be concerned about the possibility of your petition being denied even after receiving the notice.

Can Receipt Of This Notice Still Result In Denial Of Petition?

As mentioned, a Prima Facie notice under the VAWA self-petition does not guarantee success. However, you must also understand that the absence of such a provision does not automatically mean denial of the VAWA petition.

When discussing the possible rejection of petitions without a Prima Facie Determination, it’s crucial to understand that each case is unique. VAWA cases vary in processing times and may take longer than other immigration cases.

If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finds prima facie eligibility in you as a self-petitioner, a notice is issued. The decision is solely at their discretion. If no prima facie case is established initially, officers may issue a Request For Evidence (RFE). Submitting additional proof may be necessary to receive a Prima Facie Determination.

Even if a notice is issued, USCIS may identify deficiencies, leading to RFEs used exclusively for self-petition. Prima Facie Determination timelines vary, and not receiving one doesn’t necessarily indicate an unfavorable outcome due to its discretionary nature.

What Can You Do After Receiving The Notice?

Securing protection under VAWA often involves waiting—a complex and frustrating process. However, amid the challenges, a Prima Facie Determination notice emerges as a beacon of optimism. It grants qualified foreign nationals access to crucial public benefits.

Stress can be alleviated by reframing the waiting period as a time of celebration. Embracing even small accomplishments provides an opportunity to connect with loved ones. It also allows you to recognize advancements and commemorate milestones. In this way, waiting becomes more than anticipation; it transforms into a period for reflection and gratitude.

Get Legal Help From An Immigration Law Firm Willing To Handle Your Case Prima Facie

As you optimistically contemplate your next steps during the waiting period, remember it’s not a synonym for inaction. Use this time to gather resilience, embrace small victories, and acknowledge your progress.

Moreover, navigating the entire legal process can be overwhelming, mainly when you are dealing with domestic abuse. It is advisable to enlist the assistance of an immigration lawyer to guide you through its intricacies and complexities.

How Can An Immigration Attorney Help You?

An immigration lawyer is a valuable ally in navigating the complex and often challenging landscape of immigration law. Their knowledge is instrumental in assisting individuals with a myriad of such concerns.

Firstly, a lawyer for immigration aids in deciphering the intricate legal procedures, ensuring clients understand their rights and obligations. From visa applications to Green Card processes, they provide comprehensive guidance. With this, they minimize the risk of errors that could lead to delays or denials.

Furthermore, an attorney for immigration advocates for clients in legal proceedings. In deportation cases, their knowledge and skills are crucial in crafting robust defense strategies to safeguard an individual’s rights. They are adept at navigating the evolving legal landscape, staying abreast of policy changes, and ensuring clients are well-informed.

Moreover, these legal professionals can provide strategic advice on the most viable immigration options based on individual circumstances. Whether seeking asylum, employment in the United States, or family reunification, they tailor their guidance to meet specific needs. This personalized approach extends to representing clients before immigration authorities, fostering a smoother process.


In seeking relief under VAWA provisions, a Prima Facie Determination proves beneficial by providing protection and advantages for domestic violence survivors. Its absence doesn’t automatically lead to a petition denial; cases differ and undergo discretionary reviews. Understanding its role is crucial for a clearer immigration process.

Upon obtaining a Prima Facie Determination, adopting a positive perspective during the waiting period can alleviate stress. Amidst these complexities, a VAWA lawyer is pivotal in offering comprehensive guidance and advocating for clients in legal proceedings. They provide strategic advice tailored to individual circumstances, ensuring a smoother immigration process.

If you have additional questions about VAWA, your Prima Facie, or your specific case, you may contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.
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About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as green cards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job.

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