Many clients, both female and male, trust us to help them with VAWA I-1360 applications. Recently, we’ve noticed that Vermont Service Center (VSC) started to pay a lot more attention to the requirements of good faith marriage and joint residence. These two requirements are not only being questioned in very detailed RFEs, they are becoming the most common criteria for VAWA petitions to be denied.
It is ironic that VAWA adjudication vehicle created out of concern and compassion for immigrant survivors of domestic violence seems to be running out of steam. Our current and future VAWA clients need to understand that while their safety and well-being is still a priority, they need to be organized and detail-oriented when it comes to documenting their story. We hope that a few suggestions below would help a potential VAWA applicant substantiate their story:
1) No matter how painful it is, keep your join photos and memorabilia (albums, cards, gifts, receipts, etc) even if you have to move or go to a shelter.
2) If in doubt on item’s evidentiary value, do not discard it. Rather, show it to your attorney.
3) Be friendly with people in your building or area: landlord, building staff, super, neighbors, neighborhood store and bank clerks. If everything else fails, you might have to turn to their help to prove your residence.
4) Now that every single VAWA application is heavily scrutinized and many are denied, consider being represented by a VAWA expert.