Chapter 4 - Adjudication

The U nonimmigrant status program now involves three distinct adjudicative processes:

  • Bona Fide Determination (BFD) process for principal petitioners and qualifying family members with pending, bona fide U nonimmigrant petitions, who USCIS determines merit a favorable exercise of discretion;[1]

  • Waiting list adjudication for petitions USCIS determines are eligible for U nonimmigrant status but cannot be approved due to the annual statutory cap; and

  • Final adjudication of eligible petitions for U nonimmigrant status, where the approval of a principal petition results in the issuance of a visa drawn from the statutory cap of 10,000 visas allotted per fiscal year.

Overview of U Nonimmigrant Adjudication Processes

Adjudication

USCIS Process

Benefits

BFD

(Interim Benefit)

  • Does not make a final determination of eligibility.

  • Determines whether a pending petition is bona fide by meeting initial filing requirements and whether background checks are completed.

  • Determines whether background checks indicate a risk to national security or public safety, and otherwise merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

  • Initiates waiting list adjudication for principal petitioners who do not receive a Bona Fide Determination Employment Authorization Document (BFD EAD).

  • Places BFD EAD recipients in line with U waiting list petitioners for U nonimmigrant status adjudication in receipt date order

  • Principal petitioners and qualifying family members living in the United States receive a BFD EAD and deferred action valid for 4 years.

Waiting List

(Interim Benefit)

  • Determines eligibility for U nonimmigrant status at the time of adjudication.

  • Places eligible petitioners not granted U nonimmigrant status “due solely to the (statutory) cap” on the waiting list.[2] 

  • Denies ineligible petitioners.

  • Places U waiting list petitioners in line with BFD EAD recipients for U nonimmigrant status adjudication in receipt date order.

  • Principal petitioners and qualifying family members living in the United States are eligible for employment authorization and deferred action for 4 years.

  • USCIS may grant principal petitioners and qualifying family members living outside of the United States parole in limited circumstances.

Final Adjudication

(Full Benefit)

  • Makes a final determination of eligibility for U nonimmigrant status.

  • Grants U nonimmigrant status to eligible petitioners.

  • Denies ineligible petitioners.

  • Principal petitioners and qualifying family members in the United States receive U nonimmigrant status and employment authorization for up to 4 years.
Current as of July 26, 2021