New Policy Provides Further Protections to Victims of Crime (U-Visa Applicants)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS | June 14, 2021

In the latest press release issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) they announced their updated policy to protect U Visa Petitioners. U Visa petitioners are typically victims of crimes including but not limited to human trafficking or victims of crimes of violence. USCIS has taken steps to ensure U Visa Petitioners gain faster access to employment authorization. Expediting access to employment enables a U visa petitioner to work, obtain a driver's license, open a bank account, and allows them to cooperate with law enforcement.

“Today we are taking steps to help victims of crime and promote public safety” -Alejandro Mayorkas

USCIS has named this new process the Bona Fide Determination in their updated policy.

“This Bona Fide Determination process will allow U visa petitioners to work while they remain safely in the United States, providing valuable support to law enforcement to detect, investigate, or prosecute the serious crimes they have survived or witnessed."

Traditionally U visas are issued with a capacity of 10,000 per fiscal year however, the applications received for U visas have exceeded the 10,000 capacity. The result of a limited amount of U visas are the extended wait times. On average a U visa petitioner will wait approximately five years before a determination is made. In order to determine if a petition qualifies to be bona fide USCIS will review the following:

  • The principal petitioner properly filed Form I-918, including Form I-918B U Nonimmigrant Status Certification;

  • The principal petitioner properly filed a personal statement from the petitioner describing the facts of the victimization; and

  • The result of the principal petitioner’s biometrics has been received

Once the review is complete USCIS will issue employment authorization to the petitioner. USCIS has taken great steps to protect these victims and ensure the gain stability in their lives.

For more on the U Visa Policy update click here:

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