As an immigration attorney, I work with many clients in helping them with correctly filing for VAWA and seeking guidance along the way. As an immigration law firm, we work with clients in all 50 states who need assistance with their VAWA self-petition. Most of my clients are looking to file for VAWA, obviously, without the help of their abuser. However, it can be challenging to navigate this journey alone. This article provides tips on how to prove that your abuser is a United States citizen, green card holder, or lawful permanent resident (LPR).
Just this year alone, we have had many VAWA cases approved, and in one case, the client didn’t think they had a case because she didn’t have proof that her abuser was a United States citizen. However, we told her to give us all the information she had, and we would investigate to get her the proof she needed. So not only did we get her the evidence she needed, although other immigration law firms had told her no, but we got her case approved in record time.
How to prove your abuser is a United States citizen
Trying to get proof that your abuser is a United States Citizen or a lawful permanent resident can be a roadblock for many people who want to file for VAWA. In addition, it can be scary because they fear their VAWA case will be denied.
Watch the video: VAWA: Tips for Proving Your Abuser is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), or learn more in the article below.
What Is VAWA?
VAWA stands for Violence Against Women’s Act, and that name can be confusing because when you hear violence, you think it has to be something aggressive. However, VAWA does not require you to be physically abused to be able to apply for VAWA. There are different types of abuse. It can be emotional, psychological, verbal, or financial. Also, VAWA is not just for women. Men, children, parents, and the LGTBQ+ community can file a VAWA self-petition if they meet the requirements.
It is important to remember that many of these clients don’t have this information in cases of abuse. First, the abuser is not trying to help them by just handing over that information. Second, part of the abuse is hiding this information from the intended immigrant so that they can’t get their immigration papers or green card.
The first part of a VAWA case is being able to prove or have evidence that your abuser is, in fact, a United States citizen or a green card holder. Evidence for hardcore proof includes;
A birth certificate to prove they are a United States Citizen (in some states, you can contact the state department and request a copy of a birth certificate if you can provide a direct relationship to that person.
The bio-data page (photo page) of an American passport. (For those who have become citizens, it also shows on the bio-date page the birth country.
The Certificate of Naturalization (The certificate includes a photo and date of oath.)
USCIS has accepted other proof of United States Citizenship or green card holder status. This proof includes the following;
Your marriage certificate (sometimes a marriage certificate will include where your spouse was born.
A long-form birth certificate (for a child looking to prove their parents are United States citizens) A long-form birth certificate will show where the parent was born and typically will even show what kind of work they do.
Voter registration record. (The way to obtain this information is to just Google and find out if that person is registered to vote. Make sure the website you use to look up this information ends in a .gov.)
Remember, you can always Google the person’s full name, and you will be surprised by all the available information. Most people have what is called a digital footprint. It is infrequent to find someone who has no digital footprint at all.
An affidavit is also another way that can prove that someone is a United States citizen. An affidavit is a written and signed document stating by the person writing and signing the document that the information provided is true and correct.
An example would be an affidavit from the abuser’s parents stating that their son or daughter is a United States citizen or a witness at the naturalization ceremony. Again, it is essential to remember that the information needs to be first-hand knowledge.
How to prove your abuser is a lawful permanent resident or green card holder.
If the abuser is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or green card holder, for the abuser to file on behalf of you, they had to have filed an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative at some point. USCIS has this information, and they approved the relationship in that it was a real “bona fide” marriage and that the person was a United States citizen. Therefore, you can use the I-130 as proof that your abuser is a United States citizen.
You can also request a FOIA which is the Freedom of Information Act. Under the Freedom of Information Act, you can request your records based on a prior petition. Those records include things such as a birth certificate and a naturalization certificate. In addition, when you contact FOIA, you can provide them with the abuser’s A number, social security number, or full name and provide them with relationship proof to this person. Then, ask them to investigate to verify the information for you that they are indeed a lawful permanent resident.
Additional tips for proving your abuser is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Additional documents that you can use to help you prove that your abuser is a United States citizen, or lawful permanent resident include the following;
Joint mortgage documents
It is important to remember not to give up. There is always a way to get the information you need to file for VAWA. Only try to file for VAWA with help. Our passion here at Odunlami Law Firm is empowering immigrants by giving you all the helpful information and guidance you need to help you get your legal status.
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VAWA – Proving Your Abuser is a U.S. Citizen or LPR
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Areas of Immigration Law:
Naturalization (Citizenship) Application
Immigrant Relative Petitions
Fiancé Visa Applications
Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing
Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Green Card Renewals
Temporary Work Visas
Temporary Protected Status
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals