VAWA Tip for those without access to a birth certificate or passport

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In order to have a valid VAWA petition, the petitioner needs to establish that their abuser is a US citizen or Permanent Resident. Especially for petitioners that no longer live their abuser, this can be difficult.

Here are some tips on how to establish abuser status without access to a birth certificate or passport:

1) If your abuser filed an I-130 for you in the past and that filing was approved, that can be used as evidence.

2) Some jurisdictions have public voter registration records. Citizenship can be established through voter registration.

3) In your affidavit, provide all the details you know from memory to show your abuser is a citizen or permanent resident.

4) In your VAWA petition, ask USCIS to verify your abuser’s status citing 8 CFR ยง 103.2(b)(17)(ii). Here is the relevant language:

Assisting self-petitioners who are spousal-abuse victims. If a self-petitioner filing a petition under section 204(a)(1)(A)(iii), 204(a)(1)(A)(iv), 204(a)(1)(B)(ii), or 204(a)(1)(B)(iii) of the Act is unable to present primary or secondary evidence of the abuser’s status, USCIS will attempt to electronically verify the abuser’s citizenship or immigration status from information contained in the Department’s automated or computerized records. Other Department records may also be reviewed at the discretion of the adjudicating officer. If USCIS is unable to identify a record as relating to the abuser, or the record does not establish the abuser’s immigration or citizenship status, the self-petition will be adjudicated based on the information submitted by the self-petitioner.