Are you a crime victim assisting U.S. law enforcement, who is preparing to submit an application for a U visa or U status? If so, below is a helpful checklist of the items you will need to assemble for the U visa petition that you will need to submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
(If you’re still researching whether you’re eligible, see Nolo’s article “U Visas for Crime Victims Assisting Law Enforcement: Who Is Eligible.”)
- USCIS Form I-918 (available as a free download on the I-918 page of the USCIS website)
- USCIS Form I-918, Supplement A (if you are also applying for derivative status for a qualifying family member; see CAUTION below re: signatures)
- USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B (completed and certified by a qualifying agency). For more on this, see “What’s Needed for a U Visa Certification of Helpfulness.”
- Supporting documents, including:
- Personal narrative statement, describing how you are a victim of criminal activity and the circumstances surrounding the crime. You can use this statement to prove that you were not at fault in the criminal activity and to supply any information that shows that you were helpful (if you called the authorities to report the crime, for example) or the extent of your injuries.
- Evidence that you are the victim of a qualifying criminal activity. This could include trial transcripts, newspaper articles, police reports, affidavits, or orders of protection (restraining orders).
- Evidence that you suffered substantial physical or mental abuse. This could include affidavits from case or social workers, medical personnel, and police, photographs of injuries, and affidavits from people who have personal knowledge of the criminal activity.
- Evidence that you have helpful information about the crime. Form I-918, Supplement B should be sufficient for this, but if you have any further information about how you are being helpful to authorities in providing information about the crime, you should submit it.
- Evidence that the crime violated U.S. laws. Again, Form I-918, Supplement B should cover this, but if you have any additional information about the crime, especially if it occurred outside of the U.S. (but violated U.S. federal law), you should provide this evidence.
- Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, if applicable. To ask for a waiver (legal forgiveness of your inadmissibility to the U.S.), submit USCIS Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant, with check or money order (in the amount of $585 as of early 2014), made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” If you cannot afford this amount, you may apply for a fee waiver. If you (or a derivative family member) are inadmissible to the U.S. for reasons of criminal convictions, medical grounds, immigration violations, or some other reason, you must complete Form I-192 and send it along with your U visa petition.
- Information to prove relationship of derivative family members. Provide documentation to prove that your family member qualifies for derivative U status (for example, birth or marriage certificates). Make sure that any foreign language documents are accompanied by a full English translation, which is certified as complete and accurate by a translator competent to translate from the foreign language into English.
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and appropriate filing fees for any derivative family members who wish to work and are currently in the United States. If the principal petitioner’s I-918 is approved, he or she will be sent an EAD, but family members must separately submit Forms I-765 if they need an EAD.
CAUTION: In 2020, USCIS changed its internal guidance to require derivative U-visa applicants to sign the Form I-918A. Although the instructions to the form make it appear that this requirements applies only to derivatives present in the U.S., attorneys subsequently reported that USCIS was actively rejecting Forms I-918A that weren't signed by derivatives, even those living abroad. Nevertheless, if a derivative is under age 14, a parent or legal guardian may sign instead. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS will accept reproduced original signatures.
If all of this still seems overwhelming (as it easily can), it might be time to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help.