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Questions & Answers: Victims of Criminal Activity, U Nonimmigrant Status
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Below are Questions and Answers pertaining to U nonimmigrant visas.
Q: How Does One Become Eligible for U Nonimmigrant Status?
Q: What Qualifies as "Criminal Activity"?
Q: What are the Procedures to Request U Nonimmigrant Status?
Q: Is There a Fee for Applying for U Nonimmigrant Status?
Petitioners for a U nonimmigrant status are entitled to request a fee waiver of any form associated with the filing for the U nonimmigrant status.
If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may submit a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912 (or a written request).
Q: What Prevents Any Foreign National From Claiming This Status By Saying They Were a Victim of a Crime?
Q: What Qualifies as a "Certifying Agency"?
Other agencies such as child protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor also qualify as certifying agencies since they have criminal investigative jurisdiction within their respective areas of expertise.
Q: How Long Can One Maintain the U Nonimmigrant Classification?
Q: Can a Foreign National Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status From Outside the United States?
If not admissible to enter the United States as a foreign national, an applicant for a U visa must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility through submission of a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant. This waiver is adjudicated by the Vermont Service Center of USCIS on a discretionary basis, allowing the petitioner to continue with the U nonimmigrant visa process.
Q: Is There a Cap on The Number of U Nonimmigrant Status Grants?
If the cap is reached in any fiscal year before all petitions are adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list that will provide a mechanism by which victims cooperating with law enforcement agencies can stabilize their immigration status. Further, U nonimmigrant visa petitioners assigned to the waiting list will be given deferred action or parole while they are on the waiting list. This means they will be eligible to apply for employment authorization or travel until their petitions can be adjudicated after the start of the following fiscal year.
Q: Can Family Members of the Petitioner Receive U Nonimmigrant Status?
The principal petitioner needs to file a Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient, on behalf of their qualifying family members.
Q: Can an Individual Who Has Held U Nonimmigrant Status Eventually Apply for a Green Card (Permanent Residence)?
Q: Can Qualifying Family Members Apply for Permanent Residence (a Green Card)?
Q: What are the Eligibility Requirements for Qualifying Family Members Who Have Never Held U Nonimmigrant Status to be Granted Permanent Resident Status?
Q: What are the Procedures for Qualifying Family Members to Apply for Permanent Residency?
To apply for a green card, qualifying family members with a derivative U nonimmigrant status must file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. For detailed instructions and requirements about filing for a green card please refer to special instructions on Form I-485, Supplement E.
To apply for permanent residence for family members who have never held a derivative U nonimmigrant visa, the U-1 status holder must file an immigrant petition on Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, concurrently or subsequent to filing their Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. If the Form I-929 is approved, qualifying family members in the United States may file a Form I-485. Qualifying family members outside the United States may visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain their immigrant visas.
Q: Can a U-1 Nonimmigrant File a Form I-929, Petition For Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, on Behalf of a Sibling?
Q: When Can a U-1 Nonimmigrant File a Form I-929 on Behalf of a Qualifying Family Member?
Q: Can a Family Member File Their Form I-485 Concurrently With the Form I-929?
Q: Can the Form I-929 Be Approved Before the Petitioner’s I-485 Is Approved?
Q: Is a Biometric Fee Required for the Form I-929?
Q: Can the Filing Fee Be Waived?
Q: If the Petition is Approved, What Status Is Given To The Qualified Family Members (Beneficiary)?
Q: Does Approval of the I-929 Petition Grant Employment Authorization?
Q: Is There an Annual Limit on the Number of I-929 Beneficiaries Who Can Be Approved?
Q: Can a T Visa Holder File A Form I-929 on Behalf of His or Her Family Members?
Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/05/2013
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