How to get a U Visa approved? All You Need To Know About This Visa Type!
Notice Date: 05/07/2019
In order to win U Visa Petitions we have to prove:
- that our client suffered a qualifying crime;
- that they suffered substantial injuries as a result of the crime;
- that they cooperated with the police in the prosecution of the assailant.
Before proceeding to submit the application on behalf of this Mexican national with USCIS we had to obtain a signature from the certifying official from the agency that the police report was filed in.
In order for the certification to be approved, we had to prove that the crime was a qualifying crime and that the victim cooperated with the police. For this case we submitted:
- The Police Report;
- Restraining Order;
- Medical Records;
- Psychological Report.
along with a client testimonial.
We argued that the abuse was not only physical but also emotional and that our client had not overcome the trauma inflicted on her.
Once the certification was approved we gathered testimonial letters from friends and family focusing on our client’s good moral character.
We also submitted articles about our client’s home country to show the suffering she and her children would endure if her case were denied.
Each U Visa application is highly specific and our arguments are based on the actual facts in each case. We relied heavily on our ability to argue the case and document all the negative aspects that our client endured as a result of the crime. As well as proving her good moral character and arguing the hardships she would endure if the case were denied.
We try to approach each case with multifaceted arguments.
The processing time for this U Visa case was approximately 4 years but thankfully we received a positive outcome.
Our office has extensive experience helping clients from all sorts of backgrounds and different circumstances. We are so happy for our Client’s future!
Related Information on U Visas
Nuestro cliente es una madre que tuvo a sus tres hijos con ella. Estaba muy preocupada. Afortunadamente, ella nos llamó y llamamos al número varias veces. Pudimos determinar que era un fraude.
Tenga en cuenta este tipo de estafas. Ni ICE ni USCIS ni la policía llamarán a una persona para informarles que serán arrestados. Si no tiene documentos, pídale a alguien que tenga estatus que llame y pregunte en su nombre si no se siente seguro.
Our client is a mother who had her three children with her. She was understandably worried. Luckily, she reached out to us and we were able to call the number several times in order to determine it was fraudulent.
Please be aware of these kinds of scams. Neither ICE, USCIS, or the police will call an individual to let them know they will be arrested. If you are undocumented, please ask someone who has status to call and inquire on your behalf, if you do not feel safe.
Today we’re going to be talking about the latest updates with the government shutdown how that affects your filings and the U Visas and travel.
First of all this is the longest shutdown that we’ve had in history – 28 days and counting. We have no idea when it will end. So how does this affect you? Well as we mentioned earlier USCIS is self-funded so if you’re filing an application with USCIS in most cases it shouldn’t affect you with the Department of State ( Department of State Department of State (DOS) ) and in most cases with filings at the United States embassy it shouldn’t be issue. However, there could be some exceptions to issues with the Department of State ( Department of State Department of State (DOS) ) .
Now if you’re in immigration court the government shutdown is creating a huge backlog with cases that are in immigration court and if you do have a case where you are in Deportation proceedings you should check with the court and with your attorney on what is going on with your hearings because many hearings are being cancelled.
We just talked about the government shutdown now we’re going to talk about U visas and traveling.
So Brian what kind of questions have we been getting?
One of the main questions I hear from people that are applying for the U Visa, or they’re not even applying,
Is it possible to travel while you’re in the process of getting a U Visa approved?
So I recommend that you don’t travel.
One reason is that if you travel you may not be able to come back in because of unlawful presence , so I don’t recommend that you do travel while your application is pending. Even if your application is approved, I also don’t recommend that you travel because again that unlawful presence.
For a U Visa applicant when will they be able to travel, when is it recommended for them to travel outside the United States ?
So when you’re applying for the green card you can apply for advance parole and once you apply for advance parole while your green card application is pending, you could apply for that at that time but the safest approach is just to wait until you get your green card through the visa.
Once you obtain that permission to leave the United States there is no guarantee that they will still allow back in right? Even if USCIS allows you to travel outside the United States CBP has to review and admit you – is there any kind of guarantee?
Yes so you could like even if you get an advance parole document to allow you to leave, people may think oh well I can travel and I’ll be able to come back in to the United States but if you’re subject to unlawful presence when you come back in they may not allow you to come back in just because you’ve been given the advanced parole document: it can be deceiving – even if you get the advanced parole document, it may lead you to think you can travel when in fact you may be able to travel outside but you may not be able to travel back inside.
So for green card holders and every case is unique that situation is a little bit different it depends upon whether or not you have been to be admissible to the United States when you enter as a green card holder so as long as you haven’t shown that you’ve committed any crimes if you have you should consult with an immigration lawyer…
Related Information on U Visas
The reason for that is that it’s a humanitarian visa. If you are the victim of a violent crime, then you might qualify for a U Visa but it’s not just being the victim of a violent crime, you’ve had to also cooperate with the police department and have that documented generally in the form of a police report. Types of violent crimes include:
- domestic violence;
- suffered from physical injury for instance someone hit you.
That also may qualify as a violent crime.
Something that doesn’t qualify as a violent crime would be burglary or someone hitting you in a car accident. Those would be crimes that don’t qualify as a violent crime.
It’s extremely important that you also cooperate with the police and file a police report if a violent crime does occur. The other way we demonstrate and win our cases is showing physical and emotional damage. The way we can do that is if you go to a therapist. Your hospital records can also be used. If you’re over 21 years old you can also file for your spouse (include your spouse) and also file for your children if they are under 21.
The first step in the U Visa process is to make sure that you file the police report. What we then do is file an application with the police to get a certification from the police in California. The state legislature passed a law where the police departments are required to issue the approval if you qualify within 90 days. This is specific to California so every state has it’s own unique requirement.
The next step with the U Visa after the police certification we go onto the next step and file the application with the USCIS which is at the very heart of our strategy, the bulk of the case. When we apply with the USCIS this is where we build your case to demonstrate that you cooperated with the police, that you faced mental or physical harm, and this is also where we go back and also show that this qualifies as a violent crime which is the foundation, the basis of your case.
Recently processing times have increased significantly, it’s taking 43 to 45 months to get an approval: what we are seeing is a progressive increase in the approval timeline. This has been a trend with the Trump administration across the board – we’ve seen that the government is just taking an increasing amount of time to process cases. Towards the end of the case, once they start reviewing your case, you can get work authorization, which will allow you to work lawfully in the United States, which is another great aspect of the U Visa.
So we’ve been talking about the U Visa, the steps in the U Visa and the processing times. Then you receive work authorisation if it’s likely that your case is going to be approved. Consequently you can apply for a greencard three years after getting your U Visa. Going back to the EADs, they are getting issued if your case is likely to be approved, that’s when they are issuing the EAD, when it’s coming close to the end of the process to obtain your U Visa. This is based off of deferred action.
When can you apply for a greencard?
We also receive a lot of questions related to greencards without expiration date. A law passed years ago where even if you have that kind of greencard where there’s no expiration date, you are still required to file for a renewal. In this case and you can file for a renewal six months prior to the expiration date on your greencard. The USCIS is taking a long time to process such applications these days, it’s taking over a year generally to get these approved – the government processing times do change but as of today, as of the broadcast of this video that we’re doing, it is taking over a year.
Do you have any other questions Brian that you are getting or any questions for me?
You can apply 6 months before the expiration date of your greencard. if you have a 10 year greencard which is known as a permanent greencard then you can do that 6 months prior to expiration. Now that brings up an important point. If you have a conditional greencard, it requires a different application. What we’re talking about is the greencard renewal where you have the permanent greencard for 10 years.
So if you’re applying for a conditional greencard that is where you are removing the conditions after you get the conditional greencard that is good for 2 years and that is generally based on having a good faith marriage to your spouse. In that case you’re going to have to demonstrate to the USCIS that you still have a good faith marriage and the way to do that is by providing documentation of your good faith marriage such as bank account statements such as joint leases as some examples of joint documents that are included in the I-751 application which is to get rid of the conditions on your greencard so you can get a permanent 10 year greencard.
Now what happens if you get a divorce with the conditional greencard?
It’s still possible to remove the conditions on your greencard but it’s going to require more work. You will probably be called in for an interview to ensure that your marriage was in good faith. The USCIS will look at why or what happened to cause the separation – that could be one thing they will look at the interview. They will also evaluate the documents that you have. What I’m talking about now is if you actually got a divorce, they will look at the documents to evaluate wether or not you had a good faith marriage, they will also want to see affidavits from friends and family. Another way that you can waive conditions on the greencard is if you’re not filing it jointly as if it were based off of domestic violence or abuse. That is another way to also waive the joint filing requirement.
You may also qualify if you are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident for something called the Violence Against Women Act which is the violence against women’s act. So that’s another way if you’ve been a victim.
I want to thank you for tuning in to our show, we’ll see you next week, thank you and have an awesome day!
Related Information on U Visas
Here at the Ranchod Law Group we have extensive experience with U Visas. As many Clients come forward with common questions, we have gathered them all to provide you with a complete set of answers.
- Do I Qualify for a U Visa?
- What relatives can I include in my U Visa Application?
- What are the Benefits of a U Visa?
- Why is the waiting period for a U Visa so long?
- Can I travel while on the wait list?
- Can I travel outside of the United States once my U Visa is approved?
- How does USCIS process my case?
- Can I be placed in deportation proceedings if my U Visa is denied?
- When can I become a resident?
- When can I apply to become a United States citizen?
- What to do while waiting for my U Visa Approval?
Do I qualify for a U Visa?
- You have been a victim of a qualified crime (e.g. domestic violence, incest, rape, stalking, sexual assault)
- You cooperated with the authorities in the investigation of the crime
- You suffered emotional or physical harm
- USCIS grants you a waiver of inadmissibility for criminal or immigration violations
What relatives can I include in my U-Visa Application?
What are the Benefits of a U- Visa?
- Legal status and protection from deportation
- Work Permit
- Eligibility to apply for permanent residency after 3 years
- Eligibility for CalWorks, Food Stamps and Medical after receiving the U Visa receipt notice
Why is the waiting period for a U-Visa so long?
Once USCIS processes your case, they will put you on a wait list and grant you a work permit that lasts two years while you wait for your visa. It is likely that you will have to renew your work permit at least two times while you are on the wait list. The wait period can be longer or shorter depending on the resources that USCIS has. Unfortunately, in the past we have only seen the wait time increase.
Can I travel while on the wait list?
Can I travel outside of the U.S. once my U Visa is approved?
How does USCIS process my case?
Can I be placed in deportation proceedings if my U-Visa is denied?
When can I become a resident?
When can I apply to become a citizen?
What to do while waiting for my U-Visa Approval?
- Avoid any negative contact with police as certain police departments can refer you to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Negative contact includes but is not limited to:
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- driving without a license;
- not paying tickets for crimes; and infractions
- not paying tickets for infractions.
Any negative contact with police can affect your U-Visa case.
- U Visa Approved Cases, Letter of Approval and Success Story
- Difference between VAWA and U Visas: Green Card Renewals are not automatic
- U Visa Frequently Asked Questions
- California first state to pass legislation to expedite U Visa Certifications
- U Visa vs. I601a Waiver pros and cons.
- U Visa for Victims of Domestic Violence
On November 21, 2016, we received employment authorization documents for the victim of a robbery and his derivative children.
On April 2011, our client Julian (not his real name), was beaten and robbed by a group of men. He sustained a large contusion and laceration to his face that required an emergency room visit. Julian promptly contacted authorities to report the crime and willingly cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime.
After patiently waiting for USCIS to review his application, Juan and his two derivative children are now authorized to work lawfully in the U.S. while their U Nonimmigrant Status Petition remains pending with USCIS. Until there are sufficient U Visas available, Julian and his derivative children can continue to renew their employment authorization documents every two years.
If you have been the victim of a violent crime and you wish to have your case evaluated free of charge by our legal team, please contact us immediately.
There are many petitions currently being filed for U Nonimmigrant Status and because the U Visa has a Cap of 10,000 per fiscal year, it is imperative that you file your case as soon as possible.
If you are unlawfully present in the U.S., a pending U Visa Petition can protect you from deportation.
Some things to keep in mind if you have been a victim of a crime:
- some of the crimes that qualify for U Nonimmigrant Status include: domestic violence, robbery, rape, abduction, incest and murder (if a family member is murdered);
- if you are the victim of a crime you must report this crime to the police department;
- it does not matter how old or recent the police report is as long as you cooperated with the investigation;
- if you need medical attention at the time of the crime, go to the emergency room to document and treat your injuries;
- keep copies of the responding officer’s business card and ask him to write down your police report number on his card;
- if you have injuries that were not photographed by the police department, take photographs the day of the incident as well as the days following;
- comply with any requests for information or assistance from the police department or the District Attorney’s office in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. Prosecution of the crime is not necessary or mandatory to file for U Nonimmigrant Status.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call us at (916) 613-3553.
Disclaimer: The testimonials, case results and/or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
U Visa RFE: A Satisfied Client has reviewed us on Avvo.com
We are pleased to publish our most recent review on Avvo.com related to a U Visa Case:
Posted by Andres
September 20, 2016
I want to thank the Ranchod Law Group and particularly my attorney Yesenia Rosas for her excellent work in my U Visa case. She was persistent when the police department denied my U Visa certification multiple times and she never gave up until we successfully received the signed certification. I am very satisfied with her constant support and encouragement. She is kind and always treated me with the upmost respect. She quickly answered my questions and eased my concerns. I am also very satisfied with the Ranchod Law Group staff. They were always kind and respectful.
Yo quiero darle las gracias al Ranchod Law Group y en particular a mi abogada Yesenia Rosas por su excelente trabajo en mi caso de la Visa U. Ella fue persistente cuando el departamento de policía negó mi certificación para la visa U varias veces y nunca se dio por vencer hasta que recibimos la certificación firmada. Estoy muy satisfecho con su apoyo y ayuda. Ella es una persona amable y siempre me trato con respeto. En todo momento me resolvía mis preguntas y dudas que yo tenía. También estoy muy satisfecho con todo el personal del Ranchod Law Group que me atendió con amabilidad y respeto.
About U Visa Certifications
Most illegal immigrants come to the United States to escape a life of poverty and violence. Unfortunately, once they are here they fail to report even the most heinous crimes committed against them for fear of being deported. This fear makes illegal immigrants particularly vulnerable to victimization. In October of 2000, congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act. The U visa was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes, while also protecting those victims who are so vulnerable due to their legal status.
U Visa Certification Requirements
In order to qualify for U nonimmigrant status an immigrant must meet certain requirements:
- she must be the victim of a qualifying criminal activity: domestic violence, sexual assault and rape are amongst the qualified crimes;
- the immigrant must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse;
- she must possess information about the criminal activity;
- the crime must have occurred in the United States or violate United States laws;
- the immigrant must be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime
The first obstacle: Proving helpfulness to law enforcement
After having gone through the traumatizing experience of being victimized and providing assistance in the investigation of the crime, the victim must then obtain law enforcement certification—certifying that in fact she was helpful in the investigation.
One of the biggest obstacles in obtaining a U Visa is not necessarily proving helpfulness to law enforcement but getting certification of that helpfulness. A certifying agency, such as a police department, sheriff’s office, a judge or district attorney must sign Form I-918, Supplement B, U nonimmigrant status Certification. The purpose of this certification is to testify that the immigrant has been helpful or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of the criminal activity. The victim can submit form I-918 to the certifying agency to request certification. Even if the immigrant meets all the other requirements to obtain a U visa, without this signed certification she unable to receive the benefit.
Regrettably, an agency’s decision to sign a certification is entirely discretionary. Neither the Department of Homeland Security nor other federal agencies have authority to request or demand certification. Thus, until now, qualified victims have been at the mercy of the designated certifying agency — sometimes waiting over a year for a signature and often being denied for arbitrary reasons.
Current processing times for Stockton are particularly slow, taking up to seven months for a response; while their denial rate is unusually high. Sacramento’s current processing time, for both the police and sheriff’s department, is also fairly slow taking anywhere from 4-6 months. Appealing a denial is nearly impossible as officers are difficult to reach and unresponsive
Certain law enforcement agencies simply refuse to sign any certifications at all, while others create impossible requirements completely unrelated to whether the victim was helpful. This unpredictability is in essence defeating the purpose of the U Visa and keeping qualified immigrants from receiving the benefits they were intended to get.
October 2015: Governor Jerry Brown signs Bill SB 647- Victims of Crimes: Nonimmigrant Status designed to help qualified victims obtain a certification from law enforcement. Where there is a qualified crime, the bill requires law enforcement and other designated agencies to fill out and sign the certification request within 90 days, unless they can prove the victim was uncooperative. If the victim is in deportation proceedings the time limit is only 14 days. The bill further establishes a Rebuttable Presumption that victims who have
“not refused or failed to provide information and assistance reasonably requested by law enforcement”
have met the helpfulness requirement for certification.
Furthermore, certifying agencies will be held accountable for reporting to the legislation annually, the number of victims requesting certification, the number of those certifications that were signed, and the number that were denied. Expectantly, this accountability requirement will keep agencies from arbitrarily denying certifications to qualified victims.
This bill will become effective January 1, 2016 and will help many qualified victims of crimes obtain certifications and receive the benefits of the U visa nonimmigrant status. Optimistically, we can expect other states to soon follow California and enact their own legislation to assist qualified victims obtain certifications.
Related Information on U Visas
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