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Tips for Proving Your VAWA Immigration Case to USCIS

VAWA has continued to be a lifeline for eligible victims of domestic abuse to file for a green card to America. But as straightforward as that sounds, many people still encounter issues in their VAWA immigration case because of simple mistakes like an incomplete form or missing evidence to back their claim.

To keep you from making such mistakes, we will discuss the best tips and practices for gathering evidence and proving your VAWA immigration case to the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Who is Eligible for VAWA Immigration?

People who have been abused by a U.S. citizen can self-petition for legal status in the United States, regardless of whether the abused is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Many times, you will see people remain in abusive relationships out of fear of being deported, but with VAWA in place, victims of domestic abuse have the best chance of a safe and stable life in America. 

Also, although VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act, not only women are eligible to self-petition, but also children and even men who have been abused can apply. Basically, you can apply for VAWA if you can prove that:

  • You’re a spouse, child, or parent of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • You suffered battery or extreme cruelty.
  • You lived with the abuser at some point.
  • You reside in the United States.
  • You’re a person of good moral character.

Gathering Evidence to Prove your VAWA Immigration Case

No doubt, evidence is the foundation of your VAWA immigration case. The USCIS wants to see substantial proof that shows the abuse you endured and the nature of your relationship with the abuser. So without proper evidence, you won’t be able to make your case. Here are the types of evidence you’ll want to strengthen your VAWA immigration case:

  • Personal documents

Personal documents like marriage certificates, birth certificates, and other official records establish that you are legally and genuinely connected to the abuser, which is crucial evidence that USCIS will request.

However, besides just showing that you’re married to the abuser, you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not just for immigration purposes. Photos of you and your spouse at different times and documents like joint bank accounts, joint-owned properties, and leases can demonstrate that your relationship was real. If you have children together, you can include their birth certificates to strengthen your claim.

  • Personal Statements 

Think of your personal statement as your story. It’s your only opportunity to tell USCIS about the abuse you’ve experienced and how it has impacted your life. Make sure your statement is as detailed as possible in explaining the nature of your relationship with the abuser and the incidents of the abuse. You can also use your statement to explain how you meet the other requirements, especially if you don’t have a lot of other documents to support your case.

  • Evidence of the abuse

If you’ve had to call the police or obtain a restraining order against your abuser, you can obtain these reports from your local police station to support your case. Police reports and restraining orders support your claims of abuse and give concrete proof that the abuse was severe enough to require the involvement of the authorities.

However, if the police never got involved in your case, you can still provide documents like witness statements from your neighbors or friends and medical records to confirm any injuries from the abuse. And if you can provide photos of the injuries or damaged property, it’s a big advantage for you.

Tips for Proving Your VAWA Immigration Case

Having gathered your pieces of evidence, here are more tips to help prove your VAWA immigration case: 

  • Be aware of deadlines and timing.

Although there is no specific deadline for filing VAWA immigration petitions, it is crucial that you submit your supporting documents on time. For instance, USCIS may request additional evidence through email, and if you fail to respond on time, they may delay your petition or, worse, deny it. That’s why it’s also very important to keep your email address up-to-date for the entire period that your petition is being reviewed.

  • Be clear and honest in your personal statement.

Clarity and honesty are crucial when writing your personal statement. Do not exaggerate your story or leave out any information, no matter how hard it may be for you to write down, because inconsistencies in your statement can make your story less credible. Make sure your statement describes the abuse in detail. What happened, when it happened, and where it happened? Conclude with how the abuse has affected your physical and mental health and your reasons for seeking VAWA relief.

Pro Tip: Write your story in chronological order to present a timeline of events showing how the abuse started and how it progressed.

  • Hire a VAWA immigration attorney to help with your case. 

One of the best decisions you can make on this journey is hiring an immigration attorney to handle your case. Indeed, the benefits of having an immigration lawyer cannot be overstated. First, an experienced VAWA immigration attorney knows the ins and outs of the VAWA process, so they will be able to guide you through each step, ensuring that your application is complete and accurate. 

Moreover, when you need extra moral support, you can rely on your attorney. An immigration attorney understands what you’re going through, and they can provide that emotional support and reassurance that you need.

Additionally, your attorney knows what immigration officials are looking for, so they can help you gather your evidence accordingly and prepare for interviews so you don’t make any mistakes that could jeopardize your application.

The Coleman Law Group Can Help You 

Without a doubt, Coleman Law Group is the right immigration law firm for you. With several years of experience in handling these types of cases, you can rest assured that we will fight for the best outcome when we handle your case.

You can count on our team of experienced professionals to provide guidance and close support at every step of the process. And when it comes to helping you gather evidence to prove your case, we’re there for you. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your VAWA immigration case.

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