When you file an application under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) you must submit both a USCIS Form I-360 and evidence showing that you meet the VAWA eligibility requirements and qualify for relief. The evidence that you provide may include the following: a personal declaration, police clearance records and/or other evidence to show you are a person of "good moral character”, a copy of your passport or birth certificate, proof that the abuser is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, proof that you are the abuser’s spouse, child, or parent, proof that you lived with the abuser, proof that you suffered abuse, and proof that you currently live in the United States.

Your personal declaration should describe your relationship with the abuser and other details that describe your eligibility for VAWA. This should begin with the statement “I swear under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.” Your declaration should include as many details as possible, including dates, events, and should discuss the entire span of your relationship. Furthermore, your declaration should include proof that you yourself are a person that has “good moral character.” For example, you can include any volunteer experience you may have and/or the absence of any criminal or civil violations. You may also submit declarations from friends and family proving your good deeds and morality.

The police clearance records that must be submitted with the petition must be from every place where you have lived for at least six months in the past three years. These records are supposed to further prove that you are a moral person.

Submitting a copy of you passport and birth certificate are required in order to prove your identity. You must also prove the abuser’s identity. If the abuser is a U.S. citizen, you may submit a copy of their birth certificate, passport, etc. If they are a green card colder, you can submit a copy of their green card or any other sort of immigration document that proves their status in the United States. If you do not have any of these documents, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the request also does not work out, you can submit written declaration from friends and family that have personal knowledge of your abuser’s status.

You must also submit documentation to prove your relationship to your abuser. If they are/were your spouse, you can submit a copy of your marriage certificate. If they are your parent, you may submit a copy of your birth certificate. If the abuser is your spouse, you must submit further documentation proving that your marriage began with the right intentions. For example, you did not get married in order to obtain a green card. You can prove this by submitting photographs, emails, texts, evidence of a joined bank account, shared property ownership, etc. Once again declarations from your friends and family are also acceptable.

Then, you must prove that you lived under the same roof with the abuser. You can do so by submitting leases of property that you both shared with your names on, bills, school records , tax returns and other documents that may contain both of your names. If no such documents exist, written declarations from friends and family will help paint a fuller picture.

Lastly, you will need proof that you suffered abuse. You should try to provide as much evidence as possible. Potential evidence that you may be able to use are police reports or restraining orders against the abuser. If you saw a doctor due to the abuse that was inflicted on you, you can submit copies of your medical records. If you’ve gone to a counselor, a domestic violence shelter, or a support group, submit evidence of this. Keep in mind that VAWA is not limited to physical abuse. Emotional abuse qualifies as well. Therefore, if you have gone to a psychiatrist and/or were prescribed medication due to the abuse, submit evidence. Declarations from family and friends can strengthen your case as well.

Many victims of domestic abuse prefer not to bring up every unpleasant detail of their relationship with the abuser. However, in order to ensure that the officer understands what you went through and grants an approval of the petition, you should provide as much evidence and details as possible and make your application as coherent and compelling as possible. This process can be difficult and emotionally tolling, which is why it is always a good idea to have a qualified legal representation of an experienced immigration attorney.