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Do I Need Evidence For VAWA Self Petition?

Posted on September 29, 2022
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By Trixie Torres

All VAWA recipients must meet basic eligibility requirements to qualify for the program. And you will need evidence for VAWA self petition.

VAWA, a program also identified as the Violence Against Women's Act, is for battered noncitizens who are abused by a spouse or close family member who is a U.S citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (a green card holder). As a victim, you can apply for VAWA as a self-petitioner at your own discretion and without the fear of your close relative’s knowledge.

If you are a victim of abuse, you may need to take safety precautions to protect yourself from your abuser by safe web and private browsing on any electronic device including laptops, computers, smartphones, and tablets. If you use the same device or phone line as your abuser, bear in mind that they may be tracking your activity at any given moment. Also, be aware that electronic devices have cameras and/or GPS and can be monitored without your consent. For more resources visit the National Domestic Violence website or contact them at 1-800-799-7233. 

What Kind of Evidence For VAWA Self Petition is Required to Help my Case? 

You will need evidence to file as a self-petitioner for VAWA. First, you will need to file form I-360, the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Fill out and complete this form, it's in your best interest to hire a VAWA immigration lawyer to help you in your case. 

Along with the application, you will need the required documents as evidence to prove your case. This required initial evidence includes: 

  • Any form of identification and current immigration status.
  • Evidence of your relationship with the abuser (spouse, child, or parent). You will also need proof of a bona fide marriage (done in good faith). 
  • Evidence your abuser is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder).  
  • A written declaration describing the abusive relationship between you and your abuser.
  • Proof you live in the U.S with your abuser or lived with them at some point. 
  • Evidence of “good moral character''.
  • Prove that you currently live in the United States.

Details for each one will be listed in the next section. All evidential documents are required to be translated into English if they are in a different language. 

Forms of Identification and Current Immigration Status

Most VAWA recipients are in the process of obtaining lawful permanent residence with the help of their abusive family members. Ensure to include any document sent to you by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Other forms of this documentation can include your

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport, visa(s) to enter the U.S., and/or your I-94 (can be expired or current).
  • Birth certificate or your child’s birth certificate.

Evidence of the Relationship and Bona Fide Marriage 

You will need to include proof that the relationship between you and your abuser is or was valid. 

Forms of documentation can include your

  • Marriage certificate(s)
  • Divorce decree(s)
  • Or a birth certificate(s)

If your abuser is or was a spouse, you will need to include evidence proving that the marriage was done in good faith and not for fraudulent purposes. 

Documents can include: 

  • Photographs, letters, messages between you and your spouse. Include any of these from before and after the wedding. Also, any pictures from prior vacations
  • Any documents with a changed name i.e., social security, photo IDs, or letter of employer proving name change, etc.
  • Life insurance health or lie policies with both names, and/ or Wills. 
  • Affidavits from friends and neighbors. This can include family members. 
  • Receipts and proof of purchases made together. 

Evidence of the Abuser’s Immigration Status 

You will need to prove your spouse or parent (your abuser) current immigration status in the U.S. You can include 

If you do not have access to these, and depending on where you live, you can access public records and possibly obtain a birth certificate through the county records office in the county your abuser was born. 

In addition, if your abuser has already filed a petition with USCIS, you can submit a copy or a receipt of the approval notice as evidence of their immigration status. 

Written Declaration of Abuse 

You will need to include a written and personal declaration describing the abuse. Details must include extreme cruelty, physical battery, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual violence, economic/financial abuse, violent acts or threats, isolation and degradation, intimidation, etc.

Forms of proof can be: 

  • Photographs and/or videos of cuts, injuries, or bruises. There can be an exchange of words in the video if it is emotional or verbal abuse. This can also include text messages, letters, and emails with threatening degrading language proving the abuse.   
  • Incident and/ or police reports. 
  • Restraining orders or protective orders submitted by the court. 
  • Medical records and/or psychological visits (pertaining to the abuse).  
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) reports. 
  • Letters from any domestic violence shelters or center counselors.
  • Affidavits from any witnesses that are aware of or have seen the abuse. 

You do not need to include all these forms of evidence, however, USCIS will look at the persuasive evidence of the case, hence, the more you can provide, the better chance you can prove and win your case. 

Proof you Live with your Abuser in the U.S 

To prove that you and your abuser reside in the United States, both of your names need to be listed on any of the following documents. 

  • Leases, deeds, mortgages, or rental agreements 
  • Such as utility receipts or invoices, phone bills, credit card bills, etc. 
  • Joint bank statements, or joint financial documents listing the same address
  • School records listed as the parent. 
  • Medical records, insurance policies, income tax filings, and legal documents. 
  • Letters addressed to both (recipients) or different letters to each at the same address.
  • Affidavits by other people who had knowledge of the abuse.

Evidence For VAWA Self Petition : “Good Moral Character'' 

You will need to prove that you are a person of good moral character and have been for the last three years by: 

  • Providing a criminal clearance background check 
  • Any letter from religious entities (i.e., pastors, ministers, priests, etc.)  or civic club officials 
  • Awards, certificates of appreciation, etc.
  • Affidavits from friends and family members that can contest you are a good person.

Not all forms of evidence are required from each section, but the more credible evidence you provide USCIS, the better chance you have at winning your case. When USCIS approves the I-360 form, you can begin applying for a lawful permanent residence, or green card. 

It would be beneficial to hire a VAWA immigration lawyer to help you with each part of the application and gathering evidence process. Contact our office at (832) 568-4855 or visit our webpage to help you begin the process. 

Evidence For VAWA Self Petition FAQs 

What Evidence do I Need for VAWA Self-Petitioners Form I-360? 

You will need proof of your identification and current immigration status, evidence of the abuser's status, proof of relationship, proof of bona fide faith marriage, proof of residence with the abuser and current residence in the U.S., proof of good moral character and evidence of abuse or extreme cruelty.

Can You Apply for VAWA without a Police Report?

You do not need a police report or any other type of proof by law enforcement to apply for VAWA. Often, the police are not contacted because the victim fears what their abuser is. 

How to Prove a Good Moral Character for VAWA?

Doing a criminal clearance background check, obtaining any letter from religious entities or civic club officials, evidence such as awards or certificates of appreciation, or affidavits from friends and family members that can contest that you are a good person.

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