When submitting a petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), one of the requirements is that you establish that you are a person of good moral character. Good moral character has an ambiguous definition in the Immigration and Nationality Act [hereinafter, the “INA”], but there are some specific items that officials look for to determine whether a person is a person of good moral character.
There are a number of different ways you can prove that you are a person of good moral character, including, but not limited to, the following
Submitting police clearance records from anywhere that you have lived for at least six (6) months in the past three (3) years can help establish that you are a person of good moral character assuming these records show that you have never been arrested or charged with a crime. You can obtain these records by going to the police station.
Most states also have official statewide criminal records search websites where you can locate your criminal record and/or lack thereof.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime and, even if, you have been convicted of a crime, you still must submit complete police and/or court records to explain what happened and why you were arrested. You can also obtain these from your local police station and/or the courthouse where your case was handled. When you request these records you should specifically as for and provide to USCIS: (1) the arrest affidavit; (2) the information; and (3) the disposition. All these documents should be certified. Together with these documents you should provide your own notarized affidavit under penalty of perjury giving your version of events and of what occurred and how, despite what had occurred, you are nevertheless a person of good moral character.
Whenever conducting police clearance record searches online or in person, you should perform the search with not only your name and date of birth but also any other names and dates of birth that you have or may have used in the past as well as common misspellings of your name to make sure that that searches are accurate and that you provide the most accurate information available to USCIS.
Affidavits from your friends and family members discussing what kind of person you are can also be helpful. They should focus on your relationship with them and what you are like as a person. The affidavits must be in English or be accompanied by a certified English language translation. They must be drafted under penalty of perjury and notarized. All affidavits must be signed and ideally be accompanied by a copy of the signors identification containing their address, phone number, email, and any and all other identifying and contact information.
An affidavit from your employer can establish that you are a good employee who has demonstrated good moral character. Information about the type of work you do and your performance will be useful information to put in the affidavit. In addition, affidavits from community leaders such as a church pastor can also be used to establish your good moral character. These affidavits must also be in English or be accompanied by a certified English language translation. They must be on the business and/or company letterhead and/or under penalty of perjury and notarized. All affidavits must be signed and ideally be accompanied by a copy of the signors identification containing their address, phone number, email, and any and all other identifying and contact information.
Are you a member of your child’s Parent-Teacher Association? Do you volunteer at the local food bank? Evidence of any of these types of activities can also be useful in establishing your character.
If you need help with your VAWA self petition, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we have the knowledge and record of success that you need. Contact us online or call us at (305) 924-1133 to schedule a strategy session.