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:
- That applicant has been victimized as a result of such criminal activity (police reports, order of protection, news articles, or court documents);
- 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.