Frequently Asked Questions About U-Visas
What is the processing time for certification?
Before being eligible to apply for a U-visa, one must obtain certification from an authorized individual at a law enforcement agency, or if the case ever went to trial, from a prosecutor or a Judge. The authorized individual will fill out the Form I-918 Supplement B for the applicant. This Form must be included in the applicant’s submission to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Without it, the applicant’s application for a U-visa will be rejected.
What is the processing time before you can receive an employment authorization document?
Although the U-visa is an excellent option available to those who may not have many other immigration avenues that they can pursue, the U-visa processing time is one of the longer ones. Processing times are always subject to change and dependent on the state from which one has applied for a U-visa. Currently, U-visa applications are taking around 40-48 months to process. One must wait to receive an approval of their U-visa application before he or she may apply for an employment authorization document.
How much does it cost?
There is currently no cost associated with the Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. There is, however, a fee associated with the Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. As of the date of this blog post, October 19, 2018, the fee for this application is $930. It is, however, possible to apply for a fee waiver of this filing fee depending on the financial situation of the applicant. This application needs to accompany the application for a U-visa if the applicant for the U-visa is subject to certain grounds of inadmissibility to the United States.
What is the level of involvement with law enforcement?
A U-visa applicant has an ongoing responsibility to cooperate with law enforcement agency efforts to investigate and prosecute the criminal activity. Although there are certain instances in which a lack of cooperation with law enforcement efforts is justified such as when the victim lacks competency or capacity, refusals of reasonable requests for cooperation may put the applicant’s U-visa application at risk. A victim of a crime may be expected to answer phone calls from law enforcement authorities, provide information about the criminal activity, and to potentially testify at a trial, if necessary.
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