Instructions for Petitioner Declarations for VAWA (Form 360) filings with USCIS

The main point of the declaration is to provide an opportunity for you to tell your own story and explain why you need to self-petition. The declaration should come from the your own words and reflect your own thoughts, experiences, and emotions. The declaration should sound like a story in a magazine.

The declaration also plays an important role in showing that you meet the legal requirements for the self-petition process and therefore must address various issues. We suggest that you discuss the following topics: 1.) the marriage; the joint residency; the immigration status of the husband;  2) the nature of the abuse;  and 3) your good moral character.

You should begin your declaration with the statement:

I, (your name) hereby declare:

Section 1: The Courtship & Marriage

Describe a little bit about the period before you got married, using dates and specific examples when possible.

Suggested things to address and answer in your story:

When did you meet your husband?

Where did you meet your husband?

How long did you date before you were married?

Do you have any children together? If so, how many and how long after marriage did you

have your first child?

Did you think this was a good relationship? Were you in love? Tell about how you fell in


Section 2: Domestic Violence

Give a brief discussion as to how and when your husband first began his abusive behavior towards you. You may want to focus on the first, the worst, and the last incidence of violence. Include dates if possible. Make sure to include both physical and psychological abuse.

Do not make any general statements without explanations. For example, don’t say “my husband used to hit me all the time.'” Instead, give specific examples of when he hit you by giving dates and the specific details of what happened.

Suggested things to include:

How long after you were married did his behavior change? Was it gradual or sudden?

How did he change?

Was he violent sometimes, then apologetic later?

Did you feel afraid that he would hurt you?

Were you afraid for your children?

Was substance abuse involved?

What led up to the incidents?

Did you call the police? If not, why not?

If you did, was he arrested? If not, why wasn’t he arrested?

Did you get a restraining order? If so, when?

Did anyone witness the violence?

Was there sexual abuse? (Describe.)

Did he say cruel and insulting things to you? In public? Did he try to keep you away from your family and friends? Did he destroy your possessions? Hurt your pets? Did he threaten to turn you in to INS?

Section 3: Good Moral Character

Write about your good moral character including:

Your lack of problems with the law,

Your positive role as a mother if applicable,

Any other community activities (such as a position in the church or community group, or

work at the school)

Note:  you will also need to obtain a police clearance letter from the police department in any place where you resided for more than 6 months. You will submit those clearance letters in the package of papers.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Your signature                              Date

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