WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
Once it is in fact established that an individual is a victim of a qualifying crime, the applicant must establish that he or she was helpful in the criminal investigation. In order to prove this, the applicant must provide a police report regarding the qualifying crime. In addition to this, the applicant must also obtain a signature from a law enforcement officer on form I-918 Supplement B. This form signed by law enforcement certifies that the victim helped in the investigation of the crime.
The applicant also must prove that he or she suffered substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of being a victim of the qualifying crime. In order to prove that there was such harm, the applicant must provide copies of medical records for any medical treatment received in connection with the crime, photographs of injuries, and/or an evaluation from a psychologist.
Along with the U-Visa application, individuals will also need to file an I-192 waiver. This waiver will forgive illegal or unlawful presence in the United States, multiple illegal entries to the United States, and certain criminal convictions.
In certain circumstances, aggravated felonies may be waived if the conviction occurred before obtaining the I-918 B certification. However, even though an application for a waiver may be approvable, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services still has discretion in granting these waivers. The filing fee for the waiver is $585.
Our law firm has represented thousands of people who were victims of a crime and wished to adjust their status with immigration. A U-Visa is known as the process in which victims of violent crimes are eligible to adjust their status. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence are allowed to change their immigration status within the United States from nonimmigrant to immigrant when complying with certain requirements-Protection Act of 2000-the act also permits the U-Visa holder to become a legal permanent resident after three years of continuous physical presence and when they have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since receiving the U-Visa.
Depending on at what age the U-Visa application is filed; certain qualifying family members are eligible to be a derivative in the U-Visa. The persons who qualify for derivative U-Visas are:
- Spouse if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
- Children if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
- Parents if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
- Unmarried siblings under 18 years of age if the applicant is under 21 years of age
There is also a limit on how many U-Visas can be granted per year and that number is 10,000. With that being said, there is no limit or cap for family members deriving status from the principal applicant, such as spouses, children, or other eligible family members.
If the cap is reached before all U nonimmigrant petitions have been adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list for any eligible principal or derivative petitioners that are awaiting a final decision and a U visa. Petitioners placed on the waiting list will be granted deferred action or parole and are eligible to apply for work authorization while waiting for additional U visas to become available.
Once additional visas become available, those petitioners on the waiting list will receive their visa in the order in which their petition was received. Petitioners on the waiting list do not have to take any additional steps to request the U visa. USCIS will notify the petitioner of the approval and the accompanying U visa.
QUESTIONS OUR ATTORNEYS WILL ASK:
Here are the questions that must be asked in order to determine whether a person is eligible for a U-Visa
- How did you enter the United States?
- How long have you resided in the United States?
- Have you ever left the United States and if so, when and for how long?
- Have you ever been deported?
- Have you ever been caught crossing the border?
- Have you ever signed a voluntary departure?
- Have you ever been arrested for any crime?
- Have you ever been convicted of committing any crime?
- Are you a victim of a crime that occurred in the United States?
- Did you help law enforcement with investigating the crime (answering questions, calling the police, testifying in court)?
Please keep in mind that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is only authorized by Congress to grant 10,000 U-Visas per year. These cases thus can often take more than one year to be approved, as USCIS can reach the statutory cap very quickly and cannot approve more than 10,000 U-Visas per year.