The U visa certification is given to victims of crimes that are useful to a case and help provide law enforcement with information regarding the prosecution of a crime. In order to be considered for a U visa, a Form 1-918 Supplement B certification must be filed and submitted to show that a crime has occurred and that you suffered physical or mental abuse directly occurring from the crime. The U visa is extremely helpful and can make victims feel more comfortable reporting crimes and working with law enforcement even without legal immigration status.
What Does a U Visa Provide?
If approved, a U visa will give the crime victim temporary immigration status, additional temporary immigration status for family members of the victim, and the possibility of permanent resident status if qualifications are met. This can be helpful for individuals wishing to stay in the United States and obtain proper documentation to do so. A U visa also allows approved individuals to legally work in the U.S. and eventually apply for permanent residence.
Eligibility For U Visa
In order to be eligible to apply for a U visa, an individual must…
- Be recognized as an alien to the United States of America
- Be the victim of a qualified crime occurring in the U.S.
- Have useful information about the crime
- Be likely to be helpful in the investigation of crime
For U visa eligibility, a qualified crime must occur. The following crimes are considered general qualifying crimes for the purpose of a U visa. Similar criminal crimes to the ones listed below are also eligible and to be considered qualifying.
|Female Genital Mutilation
|Abusive Sexual Contact
|Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
|Being Held Hostage
|Obstruction of Justice
How to File for a U Visa?
In order to begin the process of applying for a U visa, a certified agency must submit a law enforcement certification (Form 1-
918 Supplement B certification.) The agencies that can complete this form include…
- Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies
- Federal, State, and Local prosecutors’ offices
- Federal, State, and Local Judges
- Federal, State, and Local Family Protective Services
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Federal and State Departments of Labor and
- Other investigative agencies
When filling out the form it is important to type out responses or if writing, to use a blue or black ink pen. It is also noted to submit an original signature, not an e-signed one. Lastly, once the agency has completely filled out the certification, it can be given directly to the victim’s legal representative and not directly to the USCIS. The victim’s representative will add the certificate to the rest of the U visa packet before submitting it to the USCIS. Along with the forms, individuals are also expected to submit evidence such as doctors’ reports, psychiatric evaluations, therapy session notes, court documents, or police reports.
More instructions on how to fill out Form I-918 Supplement B can be found here.
Visa Length and Extensions
Once issued, a U visa is valid for up to four years and allows you to be able to work in the U.S. After three years, the individual is eligible to apply for permanent residency. If the individual does not wish to apply for permanent residency at the time, their U visa can be renewed as necessary.
For resources for victims of human trafficking and other crimes, click here. If you would like to seek further information regarding migrating to the United States, you can visit USCIS’s website here. Don’t forget to contact Schehr Law PLLC when seeking an Immigration Lawyer. As always, we provide free consultations and affordable payment plans for all clients.