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DO’S AND DON’TS
1) Don’t worry if you don’t have all the documents in the checklist above. The list provides ideas on how to prove the required elements, and it is not necessary to gather every piece of evidence suggested to have your petition approved.
2) Don’t leave your common residence (the residence shared with the abuser) without having the following in your possession:
- A marriage certificate;
- Divorce decree, if applicable;
- Medical reports establishing any injury resulting from abuse;
- Reports from psychologists/counselors;
- Police reports; and
- Any other documentation which may be used toward proving eligibility for immigration relief under VAWA.
3) Do have all evidentiary documents in languages other than English translated and certified (signed, and attested to) by a competent translator.
4) Don’t use the petitioner’s address in requests for records, documents, or declarations. Use the advocate’s address instead to ensure that the abuser does not learn that his spouse is applying for a self-petition.
5) Do keep your documents in a safe place, and not in an unsafe place like the petitioner’s home.
6) Do keep copies of everything you send to the immigration service and any other agencies, and send documents via “certified mail, return receipt requested.”
7) Do obtain a form of photo identification (ie driver’s license, or state ID card) if you do not already have one. While petitioners can explain to agencies and organizations that they need documentation to support a VAWA petition, some agencies may require photo identification before releasing any information. One way to obtain photo ID includes having relatives obtain a passport from the petitioner’s home country.
8) Do log your efforts in seeking to obtain evidence. If petitioners can’t convince agencies and organizations to provide documentation or police departments to give clearance letters, for example, then in lieu of the documentation, the petitioner may provide a log of her efforts as credible evidence.