U Visa Work Permits. Bona Fide Determination.

 


After many years of advocacy and struggle on behalf of our U visa clients, we are thrilled to announce that USCIS is FINALLY updating their policies so that U visa applicants do not have to wait years for a work permit and deferred action status.

The new process called a “Bona Fide Determination” will provide work permits to most U visa applicants within just a few weeks of filing, and will be valid for four years. Our attorney Jennifer Walker Gates has created this video to explain how this new policy affects U Visa petitioners and what you need to be able to get a Bona Fide Determination.

What is the “Bona Fide Determination”?

The Bona Fide Determination will give victims of crime in the United States access to employment authorization much more promptly after filing their applications for U visas and providing them with stability and better equipping them to cooperate with and assist law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.

This announcement means that applicants for U Visas and their qualifying dependents will get a work permit and notice of Deferred Action when:

  1. They have filed a complete U visa petition.
    1. With Form I-918 and Form I-918A for dependents, if any, signed by the petitioner/applicant.
    2. With a Form I-918B certification completed and signed by the police, the prosecution, or a judge and filed within six months of the filing date.
  2. The biometrics check is done.
  3. The petition/applicant and qualifying relatives demonstrate that they have no serious criminal record.

Many clients of WGV who have pending U visa petitions will be eligible for this Bona Fide Determination based on the cases that have already been filed. Others will need to complete Forms I-765 for submission to USCIS for the Bona Fide Determination. We will be contacting clients who need to complete additional paperwork to be eligible to participate in this program. For information about your U visa case and whether you need to file different applications for a Bona Fide Determination, please reach out to your case manager or attorney.

We at WGV want to recognize, honor, and thank all of our clients who participated in federal lawsuits to force USCIS to make this change! This is a huge victory for immigrant survivors of crime, domestic violence, and human trafficking!

If you or a loved one need legal assistance with any immigration matter, contact us at +1 512-633-1785 or schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys here

Follow us on:

Facebook Logo with link to Walker Gates Vela FB page IG Logo with link to Walker Gates Vela IG page LinkedIn Logo with link to Walker Gates Vela LinkedIn Page Twitter logo with link to wakler gates vela twitter profile YouTube Logo with link to Walker Gates Vela YouTube page

What Is A U Visa?

The U Visa was created by Congress, in the year 2000, to encourage immigrant victims of crime to come forward, to report crimes without fear of deportation. The U Visa gives the recipient a permit to work and live legally in the United States for up to four years. This Visa is available to victims of crime who have reported the crime and have assisted police and/or prosecutors in the investigation or prosecution of a crime. The Visa provides legal status for up to four years, but after having the Visa for three years, between the third and fourth year, most recipients are eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status, or a Green Card.

Victims of violent crimes are eligible for a U Visa. Those who have suffered minor crimes typically are not eligible. The qualifying crimes for U Visa include such crimes as domestic violence, rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and similar crimes. Petty crimes such as stealing a wallet or having your car burglarized typically don’t qualify for a U Visa. Those victims who have assisted police or prosecutors in the investigation or prosecution of the crime must get a certification from that law enforcement agency in order to be eligible for a U Visa. So if you’ve been a victim of a crime but didn’t report it, unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for a U Visa. U Visas can also include spouses, minor children, and sometimes parents and siblings of the victim who has cooperated with police. If you’re a victim of a crime, please don’t hesitate to call the police. Everyone in the United States has rights to protection from violence and assistance from the police, regardless of immigration status. With that, I’ll sign off. Thank you so much and let us know if we can help with your case.

Jennifer Walker Gates On G+