We received an approval notice from the Vermont Service Center for one of our VAWA cases recently. The approval was a welcome surprise. A couple months earlier we received a request for additional evidence that made me believe USCIS was leaning towards a denial.
Our client originally traveled to the United States to visit friends in the late 90s. During her visit, she met a man and they began to date. When it was time for her to leave the United States, he professed his love and proposed marriage. They had been dating for a couple months, and although it seemed early to get married, neither one of them wanted her to leave the country, so they couple married. Shortly after the wedding, the husband changed a great deal. He became more moody and soon that escalated to violence including rape. She planned her escape from him for several weeks, and one day, while he was in the shower, she left the house and a friend of hers helped her run away. Apart from a chance encounter several months later, she never spoke to him again.
With a VAWA case, the two major evidentiary hurdles are 1) proving good faith marriage and 2) victim of domestic abuse. Because our client left in such a rush and did not gather many of her belongings when she escaped, we were low on evidence to prove good faith marriage. Additionally, she never called the police to report any of the violence and she did not move to a battered women’s shelter.
We were able to obtain tax records to show that the couple lived together for several years. We also requested that USCIS check their files because our client believed that her husband filed adjustment of status paperwork for her when they were living together, but she did not remember what came of the application. We provided affidavits from friends that knew the couple as well.
Regarding domestic violence, we provided an affidavit from a friend that, although she did not witness the abuse first hand, attested to the victim’s change in personality and depression.
The client was pleased when we received the approval notice. We will now wait for the adjustment of status interview which will be scheduled in Santa Ana later this year. If you are an alien victim of domestic violence and are interested in pursuing a VAWA case, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you during a confidential consultation to help you better understand the process and whether your case is viable.