August 24, 2022
Victims of Crime and the U Visa
If you or someone that you know is a victim of a crime and cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime (filing a police report, answering phone calls from the police or District Attorney and/or going to court if requested), you may file Form I-918 Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification with a certifying official:
A. a judge, prosecutor (District Attorney’s office), or
B. law enforcement (often the police department)
to request certification that you are:
1. A victim of a qualifying crime in the United States,
2. Assisting or assisted law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of
the qualifying criminal activity, and
3. Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of qualifying
Qualifying crimes are generally violent but also include non-violent crimes. As stated above, a victim must have also been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity for which they are a victim of. However, a current investigation, the filing of charges, a prosecution or conviction is not required to sign the law enforcement certification.
Whether abuse is substantial is based on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
The nature of the injury inflicted or suffered,
the severity of the perpetrator’s conduct,
the severity of the harm suffered,
the duration of the infliction of the harm,
and the extent to which there is permanent or serious harm to the appearance, health, or physical or mental soundness of the victim, including aggravation of pre-existing conditions.
No single factor is a prerequisite to establish that the abuse suffered was substantial. Also, the existence of one or more of the factors automatically does not create a presumption that the abuse suffered was substantial. A series of acts taken together may be considered to constitute substantial physical or mental abuse even where no single act alone rises to that level.
Once the certifying official completes I-918 Supplement B (U visa certification), it will be valid for six months from the date of signature. If the victim does not file Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, within six months, the victim will need to obtain a new Supplement B from the certifying agency. We also commonly file form i192 with the U visa application. Form I-192 is a waiver that can waive most grounds of inadmissibility — it can even waive grounds where there is no waiver available for a marriage to a United States Citizen (such as the permanent bar or for drug possession). The current cost of filing this form is $930.
It is important to file the certification request to the proper agency that has jurisdiction over the criminal activity. The certifying official has complete discretion to certify Form Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. At times a police department may decline to sign the U visa certification, we then look to the District Attorney if a case has been filed there or with the Judge handling the case.
Certification is the first step in a long process to obtaining residency in the United States. Once the U visa is filed, there is well over a 5 year wait to obtain a work permit through a bonafide application. Once the U visa is issued (only 10,000 can be issued annually), it is typically valid for 4 years. During the third year, you may file for legal permanent residency and after having legal permanent residency for 5 years, you may file for citizenship. Any arrests and convictions while your U visa is pending, may cause denial of your U visa request.
Please call our office for more information. Attorney Diana Bailey has filed hundreds of U visa applications and has over 23 years experience with immigration law. Bailey Immigration focuses solely on immigration law cases so we have the expertise to help you. Please call for a free telephone consultation at our toll free number (866) 521-6422.
Click this link to see qualifying crimes: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-of-human-trafficking-and-other-crimes/victims-of-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status