The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) allows the spouse of a United States Citizen (“USC”) or a Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) to self-petition is she can prove that she has been subjected to physical abuse or extreme mental cruelty. The following are the basic requirements to obtain VAWA’s protection: A woman must: 1) have been married to a USC or a LPR; 2) have been married in good faith; 3) have lived with the spouse; 4) still be married to her husband; 5) be of good moral character; 6) show extreme hardship if she is forced to leave the United States; and 7) show that she has suffered physical abuse or extreme mental cruelty from her spouse.
A self-petitioner has the duty to prove, with sufficient evidence, all the minimum requirements. Of particular importance is the fact that she was the subject of physical abuse or mental cruelty. The Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau (“CIS”) requires evidence generated at the time of the abuse. For that reason, the CIS give more credibility to evidence such as police reports or medical records. Affidavits created at the time of the filing of the petition of course have less credibility than records generated by a neutral third party at the time the abuse occurred.