Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C)
FGM/C refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It may be called “female circumcision” in some parts of the world. The practice has no health benefits and can lead to a range of serious physical and mental health problems.
The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a human rights violation and a form of child abuse, gender discrimination, and gender-based violence.
It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a child under the age of 18, or for the parent, caretaker, or guardian of a child under the age of 18 to facilitate or consent to FGM/C being performed . It is also against the law to send or attempt to send a child outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone in the United States who performs FGM/C on a person 18 years old or older without their consent may be charged with a crime under state law.
If someone performed FGM/C on you, that person violated U.S. law. You are not at fault, and you may be a victim of a crime or persecution. You may be eligible for certain immigration benefits, such as:
- Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification; or
- U nonimmigrant status (also known as the U visa) for victims of certain qualifying crimes.
You should consult with a qualified attorney or accredited representative if you have questions about your immigration relief options. For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs and protection, visit our Humanitarian webpage. To find authorized immigration service providers, visit our Find Legal Services webpage.
Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) for available resources if:
- You believe you are at risk of FGM/C;
- You have undergone FGM/C;
- You have questions about FGM/C;
- You have information about someone who is performing FGM/C in the United States; or
- You know of someone who may be at risk of FGM/C here or outside the United States.
USCIS is committed to ending FGM/C. Together with the White House and other U.S. government agencies, we are working in the United States and in other countries where this practice occurs to educate communities about the damaging effects of FGM/C.
To learn more about FGM/C and what the U.S. government and international organizations are doing to help eliminate the practice, view these resources:
- Statement on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
- U.S. Department of State: Observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States: Updated Estimates of Women and Girls at Risk, 2012 (PDF, 465.71 KB)
- U.S. Department of Justice newsletter on the STOP FGM Act
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Web page on FGM/C
- United Nations International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
- United Nations Population Fund Web page on FGM/C
- Population Reference Bureau: Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States
- World Health Organization Fact Sheet on Female Genital Mutilation
- USCIS FGM/C brochure (PDF, 651.26 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Amharic (PDF, 598.21 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Arabic (PDF, 626.22 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - French (PDF, 535.68 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Indonesian (PDF, 532.82 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Malay (PDF, 532.51 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Somali (PDF, 532.21 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Swahili (PDF, 529.3 KB)
- USCIS FGM/C brochure - Tigrinya (PDF, 571.62 KB)