Filing an application under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) requires you to submit USCIC Form I-360 along with evidence showing your VAWA eligibility and that you qualify for relief. The following information will detail the steps you must take, what is required of you and what types of evidence can be submitted in support of your case.
Evidence to Include With Form I-360
Along with Form I-360, you must show evidence demonstrating you meet the requirements of VAWA. At a bare minimum, you should include the following information:
- A personal declaration that describes your relationship with the abuser and details any abuse suffered.
- Any police clearance records or other evidence that demonstrates you are of good moral character.
- A clear copy of your passport or birth certificate.
- Proof demonstrating you are a U.S. citizen or hold a Green Card.
- Proof that shows you are the abuser’s spouse, child or parent.
- Proof showing you lived with the abuser.
- Proof showing you suffered abuse, and that you currently live in the United States.
- Two passport-style photos along with your application.
A more detailed description of these elements is included below, but it is also helpful to provide a cover letter that details any information you submit. Remember, although this list is useful, putting together a complete VAWA application requires the assistance of a licensed immigration lawyer. If you are interested in learning more about VAWA, send us a message online or visit our informational page:
For more that discusses important details and details about VAWA and other similar caes, read our article, U Visa, T Visa or VAWA Self-Petition – Which is Right for Me?
Your personal declaration should include a detailed declaration that discusses your relationship with the abuser, and you should also include any details that support your eligibility for VAWA. Your should never make a personal declaration without advice from your immigration lawyer.
Shaping Your Declaration
Provide as much information as possible in your declaration that helps to detail the relationship. This should include how you met the abuser, how your relationship developed, and why you chose to get married to the abuser. In addition, include the various types of abuse you incurred and where each instance occurred. Detailed information is important, and if you can remember dates, times and small details it could help your case.
The final part of the declaration is your opportunity to discuss things that show you’re a person of good moral character. Some ways to prove that you’re a good person involve volunteer work, regular attendance at churches, temples or mosques. You can also discuss your parenting style or that you support a family. Talk about any role you play in your community, and list any activities that help to show you are a good person.
Police Clearance Records and Other Evidence of Good Moral Character
Police clearance records show that you have lived a crime-free life. Make sure to include any information for any residence you stayed at for at least six months over the past three years. The local police station in each area you lived will have these records for you, and you can request them by visiting the precinct that holds your records. When asked why you need the information, explain that it is for immigration purposes. Police records go a long way toward proving your good moral character and establishing that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Support for Good Morale Character
Declarations from friends, family members and co-workers can also be submitted in support for your character. Ask anyone that submits a declaration to include information that showcases your involvement and demonstrates you are a good person.
Proof of Your Identity
Proving your identity requires you to submit a clear copy of your birth certificate and/or passport. The more information you submit, the less likely your application will be returned for incomplete information. You also must prove that your abuser is a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder.
For an abuser that is a U.S. citizen, it is permissible to submit a copy of the abuser’s U.S. passport, birth certificate or Certificate of Naturalization. In some states, you may contact the County Recorder where the abuser was born to request a copy of their birth certificate. In cases where the abuser has already submitted a visa petition via USCIS Form I-130 on your behalf, you can include a copy of the petition as evidence of their U.S. immigration status.
Abuse from a Green Card Holder
An abuser that is a Green Card holder can be verified by submitting a copy of their Green Card. If a copy isn’t available, and I-130 approval notice from the USCIS, or other immigration documents may be submitted instead. If you lack access to any of these documents, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon receipt, the agency can provide you with a copy of your immigration file. This information may include details about your spouse that you may be able to use. As a last resort, submit written declarations from those who know the abuser’s status as evidence.
Proof of Your Relationship
Another aspect of the application requires you to submit proof that you were in a relationship with the abuser. If you’re married to the abuser, you can submit a copy of your marriage certificate. For parents that are the abusers, you may submit a copy of your birth certificate. Additionally, when you’re married to the abuser, you must submit evidence that shows you entered into the marriage with the best intentions. This is important to prove that you didn’t simply get married to receive a Green Card. There are several ways you can prove this. Submit birth certificates of your children, photographs together, letters, emails and even phone records that provide evidence you shared affection for the abuser.
Additional Supportive Evidence
Evidence that shows you shared a bank account, leases, property, insurance, went on vacations together and other documents can also help prove your status. Shared credit cards and phone numbers can also go a long way toward proving you had a deeper commitment. Family members and friends can also submit declarations that you were committed and may help round out the overall picture.
Proof That You Lived With the Abuser
The VAWA requires proof that you lived with the abuser. Leases that include both of your names, shared utility bills, notes from your landlord or neighbors, school records and other documents that include both of your names can be used as evidence. Also consider submitting joint tax returns or pay stubs to prove your address and relationship.
You are free to submit any documentation that includes both your name and the abuser’s name as well as your address. If you simply can’t find these documents, then submitting declarations from friends, family members and others that know both of you may prove helpful.
Proof That You Suffered Abuse
The more evidence you submit to show that you suffered abuse, the better. Police reports, restraining orders and hospital records can all provide good sources of evidence to document the abuse. Court records may also be used if the abuser was sentences or had to go to court for abusing you. A record that you have seen a psychologist can also go a long way to proving the abuse, and any visits to a domestic shelter can help you prove abuse in your relationship.
Different Types of Abuse
Physical abuse is not required to qualify under the VAWA. Emotional and psychological abuse can be severe enough to warrant classification in some cases. Especially if you have visited a psychologist or been given medication to help you deal with your abuse. Whenever you can’t provide evidence, look to your friends and family members for declarations. A declaration from anyone you have spoken to about the abuse or that has witnessed the abuse is appropriate.
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