The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) application is a major lifeline for abused immigrants. The following will help you obtain your VAWA green card. In general, the more sound and substantiated evidence you can produce, the stronger your case will be.
Evidence that the Marriage was Entered into in Good Faith (if applying as spouse)
A self-petitioner under VAWA must have met the abuser and entered into a relationship and marriage in good faith and not solely for immigration purposes and must have been legally married. In order to establish that the abuser and the self-petitioner had a bona fide marriage, please see this list of bona fide marriage documents. These documents need to be submitted with the VAWA self-petition and green card application at the time of filing.
Evidence of Abuser’s U.S. Citizenship or Green Card Status
The abuser must have been a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident at the time that the abuse occurred. In order to establish that the abuser was a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident it is advised to submit evidence such as the abuser’s birth certificate, naturalization certificate, green card or other documentations of the abuser’s immigration status. USCIS understands that sometimes this evidence is not available due to the abusive relationship and as a result will accept other evidence to show the immigration status of the abuser.
Evidence of Physical or Psychological Abuse for USCIS Immigration Purposes
Domestic Violence in U.S. Immigration Law includes, but is not limited to, physical harm, forced sexual relations, psychological, emotional, mental abuse and more. Tactics of isolation, control and possession of the victim at the hands of the abuser are often common occurrences in situations eligible for VAWA relief. If you have any questions about what kinds of behaviors might constitute abuse, please review a list of common abusive behaviors. You may have grown so accustomed to the abuse that you no longer consider it abnormal behavior, so please read the list carefully and think about your situation. [LINK TO LIST OF ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR]
If you are in an abusive situation, we encourage you to read our section I Am Being Abused by my U.S. Citizen Spouse, What Can I Do?
Please consult with our experienced immigration lawyers to see whether you qualify for VAWA.
Evidence VAWA Self-Petitioner’s Good Moral Character
If you are 14 years of age or older, a written declaration of good moral character accompanied by a local or state police clearance or FBI clearance (if you have lived in multiple states) must be provided to establish the good moral character of the VAWA self-petitioner.
Must I submit police report or medical records to show abuse for VAWA Petition?
Although police reports and medical records are extremely helpful in establishing abuse in a petition filed under VAWA, they are not required. However, they can serve as useful corroborating evidence to make the VAWA applicant’s claims more credible. The police will not deport or otherwise cause trouble to immigrants who claim to be victims of abuse, so we encourage everyone to report any abuse to the police and seek medical treatment if physically injured by the abusive spouse.
A VAWA application is a very significant application that can greatly improve the quality of a battered immigrant's life. If you or a loved one needs help, contact our Los Angeles immigration attorneys now for a FREE consultation.