How to obtain temporary legal status - petition for U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa)

Petition for U Visa

Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa)

The U visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed to give victims of certain criminal activities obtain temporary legal status and work eligibility in the U.S. for up to 4 years. Only 10,000 U visas are issued by USCIS per year. The criminal activity must have violated the laws of the U.S. or occurred in a U.S. territory.  Family members such as spouses, children, parents, unmarried sisters and brothers under 18, and stepchildren or stepparents, may also be included on the petition.  Beneficiaries of approved U visa petition are automatically given work authorization in the U.S.

To apply one must:

  • First,  victims must obtain a certification from the Federal, State or local government official in charge of investigating and prosecuting the alleged violator. This certification, which is done on Form I-918 Supplement B,  must state that the victim has or is likely to cooperate with the official to help in the prosecution of the perpetrator or violator;
  • Second,  complete Form I-918 (For U Nonimmigrant Status) and submit it with the  certified Form I-918 Supplement B, identity documentation, personal statement, and evidence that establishes:
    1. That applicant has been victimized as a result of  such criminal activity (police reports, order of protection, news articles, or court documents);
    2. That applicant has suffered physical or mental abuse (photos, affidavit from witnesses counseling or psychological evaluations, or affidavit from police, judges or other court officials);
  • There is no fee for biometrics required for this type of petition;
  • Once the petition is accepted, the applicant will received a receipt confirmation from USCIS and an eligibility for work authorization is determined;
  • An approval of a U Visa is made based or whether the applicant has sufficient evidence to establish eligibility for this benefit.