Victims of Criminal Activity (U) Visa
U visas are available for those individuals who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity such as: rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, slave trade, kidnapping, etc.
Victims of certain criminal activities that either occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws may be eligible to petition for U nonimmigrant status to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Victims must have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the criminal activity and possess information concerning that criminal activity. Law enforcement authorities must also certify that the victim has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
For Qualifying criminal activities, please refer to: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-of-human-trafficking-and-other-crimes/victims-of-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status#:~:text=The%20U%20nonimmigrant%20status%20(U,or%20prosecution%20of%20criminal%20activity.
I. Procedures for applying for a U Visa with USCIS:
- Step 1: Complete and file Form I-918 and I-918B with USCIS Nebraska Service Center
- For family member, Applicant must complete and file a separate Supplement A Form for each family membe for whom Applicant wants to petition;
- Applicant may petition for family members in conjunction with filing Form I-918 and I-918B for the Applicant, or at a later date;
- Applicant may NOT petition for Parents and Unmarried Siblings under age 18, if Applicant is older than the age of 21.
- Step 2: Apply for a U Visa at the Consulate based on approved I-1-918 Petition in the form of I-797 Notice of Action
II. Documents required for an I-918 Petition for U Visa with the USCIS:
- Completed Form I-918;
- Completed Form I-918, Supplement B Certification;
- Evidence you are the victim of qualifying criminal activity;
- Evidence you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse;
- Evidence you possess information concerning criminal activity, and that the criminal activity is qualifying and violated United States law or occurred in the United States;
- Evidence you have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful to a certifying official in the investigation or prosecution of qualifying criminal activity;
- A personal statement;
- If you are inadmissible, an application for a waiver of inadmissibility on Form I-192, with appropriate fee or request for a fee waiver;
- If you are filing Form I-918, Supplement A for a qualifying family member:
- Credible documentation of the claimed relationship
- An explanation of why required documents are not available (if applicable)
- If your qualifying family member is inadmissible, an application for a waiver of inadmissibility on Form I-192, with appropriate fee or request for a fee waiver.
III. Documents required for a U Visa at the U.S. Consulate:
- Valid Passport: Applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months beyond his/her period of stay in the U.S.
- Form DS-160 Confirmation Page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo – Applicant will be required upload photo while completing the online Form DS-160; if uploading photo failed, Applicant will be required submit one printed photo to the U.S. embassy or consulate during the interview.
- Applicant’s photos or digital images must be:
- In color
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
- Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
- Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
- Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
- Eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant’s eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:
- The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
- There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
- There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
- If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
- Form I-797, Notice of Application for USCIS indicating approval of Form I-918
IV. Additional Notes:
- Principal U Nonimmigrantsare authorized to work once USCIS approved the underlying petitions for U nonimmigrant status and will automatically issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) when we approve your petition. Thus, the principal applicants do not need to file a separate Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
- If the Derivative U Nonimmigrants reside inside the U.S., the Derivative U Nonimmigrants will be authorized to work once USCIS approved the derivative petition for U nonimmigrant status. However, the Derivative U Nonimmigrants will not automatically receive an EAD andmust file Form I-765 to request an EAD.
- Statutory Cap: If the statutory cap is reached in a fiscal year and USCISwill use the waiting list process described at 8 CFR 214.14(d)(2), petitioners for U nonimmigrant status and derivatives in the U.S. can apply for an EAD based on deferred action. USCIS will only approve these EADs after DHS has deferred action in the cases, regardless of when applicants file Form I-765.