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The Importance of Affidavits!


WHAT IS AN AFFIDAVIT

An affidavit is a written statement made under the affiant’s sworn oath to be true. In immigration cases, an affidavit is used along with witness statements to prove the truthfulness and certainty of factual circumstances in support of an immigration petition or filing.


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU, AS A PETITIONER, TO SUBMIT AN AFFIDAVIT?

The affidavit plays an important role in a petition because it gives you the opportunity to tell your story and reinforce your petition’s purpose. The affidavit should be written in your own voice, include as much detail as possible, and reflect your individual point of view.

An affidavit to the Immigration Court, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),  should be notarized, if possible. However, if you are not able to obtain notarization you can provide a sworn statement with the following oath: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.” This statement reaffirms the accuracy and truthfulness of the facts told in the affidavit.


WHO CAN SUBMIT AN AFFIDAVIT?

Any person can provide an affidavit as long as they know the petitioner and have the mental capacity to understand the oath’s seriousness. For example, friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, and other witnesses can write an affidavit to support your petition.


WHAT DOES A PETITIONER NEED TO INCLUDE IN THE AFFIDAVIT?

A petitioner is an individual who files an immigration application. As the petitioner, you must include in the sworn statement your full name, date of birth, and current address. Most importantly, you should address the specific facts that would substantiate your petition. Once you complete the affidavit, it needs to be signed and dated.

For example, suppose the affidavit is for a marriage petition. In that circumstance, the petitioner must include: when and where they met their spouse, how their relationship was before marriage, how the engagement took place, details about their wedding, and how their relationship is after the marriage. Basically, the affidavit provides a narrative from the beginning of the relationship to the present, and it should include as much detail as possible.


THIRD-PARTY AFFIDAVITS TO SUPPORT A PETITIONER’S CASE

A third-party is an individual who is not the petitioner, but rather somebody who has a relationship with them and can attest to certain aspects of their character, personal life, or a specific event in the petitioner or beneficiary’s lifetime. Third-party affidavits are statements written by a third party, such as a family member, friend, neighbor, religious leader, employer, or other close personal connection. Third-party affidavits must contain the sworn statement, full name, address, and date of birth of the writer. The third-party needs to explain in detail how they are connected to the petitioner.

Third-party affidavits are especially helpful for proving a bona fide marriage, evidence of a romantic relationship for a fiancé visa, good moral character, evidence of abuse to support a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petition, etc. For example, consider the situation described above regarding a marriage petition. Since the petitioner needs to establish with USCIS that he/she has a bona fide marriage, it is recommended that the petitioner submit a third party affidavit. The third-party affidavit must include: how long the person has known the petitioner and their spouse, where they met the couple, a description of the relationship between the petitioner and their spouse, if possible details of the wedding event itself, and should generally affirm that the third-party writer has personal knowledge of the marriage and attest to the authenticity of the relationship.

Third-party affidavits are also useful in cases that require the petitioner to prove good moral character. A showing of good moral character is required for several immigration petitions. A third-party affidavit can really strengthen this aspect of a petition if the writer can state how long they have known the petitioner, what role the petitioner has in the community, and attest to the petitioner’s honest personality and integrity.


CONTACT US

A well-written affidavit can make all the difference in whether a petition is approved or denied. Every case is different, and the petitions have different requirements. We recommend that you contact an immigration attorney to discuss your specific case. An experienced attorney will be able to help you navigate through the immigration process and can explain the requirements of each petition that could be relevant to your situation. If you have any questions regarding your immigration matter, we encourage you to fill out our online form here.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc