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The U Visa for Immigrant Crime Victims Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota 450 N. Syndicate Street, Suite 175 St. Paul, MN 55104 (651) 641-1011 phone (651)641-1131.

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Presentation on theme: "The U Visa for Immigrant Crime Victims Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota 450 N. Syndicate Street, Suite 175 St. Paul, MN 55104 (651) 641-1011 phone (651)641-1131."— Presentation transcript:

1 The U Visa for Immigrant Crime Victims Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota 450 N. Syndicate Street, Suite 175 St. Paul, MN 55104 (651) 641-1011 phone (651)641-1131 fax

2 U Visas: Intent of Congress Created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (VTVPA) of 2000, which passed with bipartisan support To facilitate the reporting of crimes by victims who are not in lawful immigration status To strengthen the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute certain violent crimes To provide humanitarian relief to crime victims and their family members

3 U Visa Requirements Qualifying crime: The applicant has been a victim of a “qualifying crime” Substantial harm: The applicant suffered “Substantial physical or mental abuse” from the criminal activity Information: The applicant possesses information concerning the criminal activity (if the victim is under age 16 a parent or guardian can show they possess information on behalf of the victim) Cooperation: The applicant “is being, has been or is likely to be helpful” in the investigation or prosecution of a crime Location: The crime must have occurred in the United States (includes Indian Country, military installations, and territories of the U.S.)

4 Crimes that qualify for a U Visa Murder Manslaughter Felonious Assault Rape Torture Incest Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Prostitution FGM Perjury Slave Trade Trafficking Involuntary Servitude Being a Hostage Kidnapping Abduction Peonage False Imprisonment Witness Tampering Obstruction of Justice Or substantially similar crimes  Or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes.

5 The applicant can be a direct victim OR an “indirect victim” When the direct victim is a child (for example in a sexual abuse case), a parent may be able to apply for a U Visa as an “indirect victim.” This is so even if the child is a US citizen. The parent must show that they have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution The parent must also show they have suffered “substantial mental harm” as a result of the crime against their child.

6 Prerequisite to filing the U Visa with Immigration: the “certification” In order to file a U Visa application with USCIS, an applicant must first request and receive a signed Form I-918 Supplement B (Law Enforcement Certification) from the agency that investigated or prosecuted the crime. (See I-918B Form and U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Resource Guide from the Department of Homeland Security)

7 Who Can Certify? Qualified certifying agencies include:  Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies; or  Other agencies that have criminal investigative jurisdiction in their respective areas of expertise such as child protective services, the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.

8 Who can certify? continued Certifying officials include:  The head of a qualifying certifying agency;  Any person in a supervisory role in a qualifying agency who is specifically designated by the head of that agency to issue U nonimmigrant certifications; or  Federal, State or local judges

9 What Certifying Agency Determines The person has been the victim of a qualifying criminal activity Victim possesses information about the qualifying crime Victim has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to the investigation and/or prosecution of the qualifying crime

10 What constitutes “helpfulness”? · Being helpful and providing assistance when reasonably requested · The victim must continue to cooperate for the duration of the investigation or prosecution. An unreasonable refusal to continue assisting after reporting a crime makes the victim ineligible · Law enforcement may certify the victim’s helpfulness in the investigation even if no charges are filed or if the charges are dismissed. · There is no statute of limitations on when the certification can be signed. A case can be certified even if it’s now closed.

11 What the Certifying Agency does not determine The law enforcement agency is not issuing a political statement on immigration, but is rather assisting in the application of existing law Not issuing a visa USCIS determines eligibility and issues visas Not a final determination on substantial harm USCIS determines substantial harm *Form I-918B Law Enforcement Certification is a required element of a much larger application

12 Other U Visa Requirements · Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status: an in-depth 8 page application form · The applicant must undergo fingerprinting and a thorough background check · The applicant may need to request a waiver of inadmissibility due to prior immigration violations · The Applicant must submit evidence to show that she has suffered “substantial mental or physical abuse” as a result of the crime

13 U Visa Benefits 10,000 U Visas are granted to principal applicants per year Legal Status for 4 years Employment authorization for 4 years Can include certain family members as derivatives U beneficiaries may travel outside of the US, but returning could be problematic Can apply for Permanent Residence after 3 years in U status

14 U Visa Derivatives There are only 10,000 U Visas given each year to principal applicants per year. However, there is no limit on derivatives For applicants under age 21: can include spouse, children, parents and siblings (who are unmarried and under age 18) For applicants 21 and older: can include spouse and children (who are unmarried and under age 21)

15 Who Cannot Apply for a U Visa? Victims who unreasonably refuse to assist in the investigation or prosecution Victims who are partially culpable for the qualifying criminal activity cannot apply Perpetrators of the crime cannot be included as derivatives

16 IMPORTANT Immigration law is highly complex and dynamic federal law. The information contained in this training is intended for limited educational purposes only and is specific to this training. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney or Accredited Representative for specific immigration legal advice.

17 Contacting the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Questions? Selena Britzius-Negash, Esq., Program Director Email: Potential U Visa Applicants: Call: 651-641-1011 or 1-800-223-1368

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