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In 2000, Congress created a specific visa for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to offer to victims of severe criminal violence. These permits, known as U visas, provide temporary nonimmigrant status to individuals who experienced substantial physical or mental abuse due to qualifying criminal activity, allowing them to remain in the United States legally for up to four years.

Unfortunately, obtaining a U visa in Wheaton can be a difficult endeavor, thanks to the limited availability of permits and the number of criteria that applicants must meet. However, an experienced attorney could break down the stages of the application process and help you create an airtight future plan.

What Are the Stages of Applying for a U Visa?

One of the key steps of the U visa application process involves a foreign national informing law enforcement about the person or people whose criminal behavior harmed him or her. If the potential immigrant cannot immediately aid law enforcement, he or she must demonstrate intent to assist in the near future. To accomplish this, an applicant should consider reaching out to police agencies to receive written certification about his or her intent to help before actually beginning the process of petitioning for a U visa.

Next, the victim of criminal violence should submit Form I-918 to the USCIS Vermont Service Center, along with Supplement B of that document, an addendum that details cooperation and features a law enforcement officer’s signature. Afterward, a foreign national must also submit paperwork demonstrating that he or she is admissible to the United States under current federal policy. Finally, an applicant must write and attach a statement that transparently outlines how the severe criminal activity in question directly impacted his or her life.

If USCIS determines that a U visa applicant is not admissible to the country, he or she will need to request a waiver by filing Form I-192. If a foreign national wants to bring any of his or her close family members into the U.S. through a U visa, he or she must list them in the application petition through Supplement A of Form I-918.

Since the process for obtaining a U visa is a complicated and involves many intricate steps, retaining a tenacious attorney in Wheaton could be a crucial step.

How Does the “Bona Fide” Determination Process Work?

In June 2021, USCIS implemented a new process for handling U visa petitions that aims to help the victims of criminal behavior avoid procedural backlogs and seek protection faster. Known as the “Bona Fide Determination” system, this framework establishes that an applicant who meets all necessary criteria for a U visa, submits all appropriate forms and documentation, completes biometrics screening, and applies in good faith might receive “favorable exercise of discretion,” a determination that makes the application process more efficient.

A Bona Fide U visa applicant can obtain employment authorization and receive deferred action on deportation prior to actually acquiring his or her U visa, granting much-needed stability while waiting for one of the 10,000 annual permits to become available. A knowledgeable lawyer in Wheaton could outline this new process in more detail and explain how it might boost an immigrant’s chances of acquiring a U visa.

Contact an Attorney about Obtaining a U Visa in Wheaton

U visas can serve as crucial lifelines for people who experienced criminal behavior and suffered severe abuse as a result. Since these visas are complicated and in high demand, navigating the application process without guidance from seasoned legal representation often leads to unfavorable outcomes.

Discussing your options with a knowledgeable lawyer is a reliable way to start the process of obtaining a U visa in Wheaton. Learn more by calling today.

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