Documents Needed for Your VAWA Petition

  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: June 11, 2021
Documents Needed for Your VAWA Petition

When you are seeking a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), there are a number of different requirements that must be met. To fulfill most of these requirements, you will need the proper documentation. Here are some of the documents you may need for your petition.


Relationship to the Abuser

A VAWA petitioner must show that they are, or were, married to their abuser. It must also be shown that the marriage was legal and that any previous marriages had been dissolved due to death or divorce. The documents you can use to prove this requirement include:

  • Marriage certificates
  • Death certificates related to any previous marriage.
  • Divorce decrees related to the marriage to the abuser or any previous marriages.


Status of the Abuser

A VAWA petitioner must also show that the abuser was a United States citizen or legal permanent resident. This can be accomplished by presenting:

  • Abuser’s birth certificate
  • Abuser’s United States passport
  • Abuser’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Abuser’s green card
  • Any documentation from USCIS showing the abuser’s A number


Residence With the Abuser

It must be established that the petitioner lives with or lived with the abuser. There are a number of different documents that can be used to establish residence, including:

  • Lease or rental agreements
  • Utility bills in both names
  • Children’s school records
  • Mail sent to both spouses at the same address
  • Other documents such as medical records listing the petitioner and the abuser at the same address.
  • Declarations from landlords, neighbors, and friends.


Proving Abuse

VAWA petitioners are required to show that they were subject to battery or extreme cruelty by the abuser. The documents needed to prove abuse may be difficult for the petitioner to obtain on their own because it involves extensive contact with public officials. It may be helpful to hire an attorney who can obtain documents such as:

  • Restraining orders
  • Notes from a police officer familiar with the abuse
  • Police reports
  • 911 transcripts
  • Criminal court records
  • Medical records even if the petitioner didn’t mention the cause of the injuries
  • Domestic violence shelter records
  • Mental health or counseling records
  • Photographs of injuries or property damage
  • Letters or texts from the abuser
  • Declarations from abuse witnesses


Good Moral Character

A VAWA petitioner must establish that they are a person of good moral character. This generally means that the petitioner follows the law. It can also mean that the petitioner positively contributed to their family and community. The following documents can be used to establish good moral character:

  • Local police clearance letters
  • Criminal record check
  • Declarations from people who can vouch for the petitioner’s good moral character


Contact an Experienced VAWA Attorney

If you want to explore your options under VAWA, you should consult with an immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we have extensive experience helping VAWA petitioners. Contact us online or call us at 305-924-1133 to schedule a consultation.

Magdalena Cuprys, Esq.

As an immigrant and a refugee herself, attorney Magdalena Cuprys understands how
important, terrifying, and exciting immigrating to America can be. She understands
how important it is to have one’s legal status in order to achieve the American dream.

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