DC VAWA Applications

The first thing a VAWA applicant should do is ensure their safety. This means contacting police or formulating a plan of action should the abuser become violent or try to prevent the applicant from filing. The applicant’s next step should be securing the documents that will become necessary at the time of filing such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, lease agreements, bills/mail, etc.

The applicant should also try to locate official records of the abuse like police reports, hospital records, and pictures. In addition, they should try to obtain statements from doctors, therapists, or social workers, as well as friends and family who know about the relationship or abuse. Lastly, the applicant should obtain police clearances from where they have lived for the last three years and include statements from third parties regarding their character.

A lawyer who is experienced with DC VAWA applications could help you through this process. Reach out to an accomplished VAWA attorney today.

Completing Form I-360

The form for VAWA benefits is Form I-360, available at www.uscis.gov. All DC VAWA applications are private and not shared with anyone but the applicant and the applicant’s legal representative. The I-360 form requests that the VAWA applicant provide a safe address where USCIS correspondence can be mailed to ensure confidentiality. When represented by counsel, the VAWA applicant’s attorney will receive both the applicant’s receipt and that intended for the attorney. Only the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers from the VAWA unit and officers adjudicating the application at the local office at the time of adjustment will have access to the application.

The applicant answers the biographic information requested on the I-360 form and provides evidence of the qualifying relationship to a US citizen or a permanent resident abuser. This entails submitting a birth certificate if the abuser is the parent or the child of the applicant or, if the abuser is the spouse, submitting a marriage certificate. Spouses must also demonstrate that they entered the marriage in good faith and not for immigration benefits. One must also show that the applicant resided with the permanent resident or U.S. citizen and that the applicant was subjected to extreme cruelty or was battered by the permanent resident or U.S. citizen. An additional requirement is evidence that the applicant is a person of good moral character.

Supporting Evidence in VAWA Applications

The VAWA applicant submits Form I-360 with evidence supporting the relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, evidence of battery or extreme cruelty at the hands of that relative, evidence that the applicant lived with the abuser, and the applicant’s good moral character. The VAWA applicant may file for permanent resident status (Green Card) at the same time that the I-360 is filed if there is a visa immediately available; meaning that the abuser is a U.S. citizen or that a visa is available according to the State Department Visa Bulletin for a family member of a permanent resident. The concurrent filing of the I-485 also means that the VAWA applicant may submit Form I-765 for employment authorization and Form I-131 for a travel document.

Call a DC Lawyer About VAWA Applications

A meeting with an immigration lawyer about DC VAWA applications will typically involve questions about whether the applicant is married to or is the parent or child of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser. The answer to this question will determine whether and adjustment application can be filed concurrently or whether the process will occur in two steps: the I-360 first and the I-485 at a future date.

Additional questions will be about the individual’s immigration history and whether they have a criminal record or any arrests. The answer to these questions will also determine whether the potential applicant is eligible to adjust or whether they can demonstrate good moral character. After eligibility for adjustment is determined, the immigration lawyer will ask the conduct of the abuser. What kind of actions the U.S. citizen or permanent resident took against the applicant will be instrumental to determine whether it rises to the level of abuse or extreme cruelty.  After the abuse or cruelty is determined, the attorney will go through a list of the documents that will prove that the applicant entered the marriage in good faith and not for immigration purposes, that they lived with the abuser, and that there was in fact abuse.