The U-visa can be a good option for immigrant victims of crimes and their families; however, obtaining a U-visa is not an easy task. Only 10,000 U-visas are granted each year, meanwhile almost twice those amounts apply each year. Since President Obama has been placing more people in removal proceedings (deportation) U-Visa filings have gone up. In 2014, approximately 26,000 U-visa applications were submitted. These numbers do not include the thousands of qualified persons who do not apply, either by choice or because they don’t know to apply. There has been a push by Congress to increase the U-visa cap to 15,000, but it hasn’t happened yet.

What happens if the cap is reached when I apply?

If when you apply for a U-Visa, more than 10,000 petitions have been filed, you will be placed on a waiting list. If your petition is approved, you will get Deferred Action until there are visa’s available for you and your family. Deferred Action gives you protection from deportation, employment authorization, ability to apply for a social security number, and driver’s license. Only the primary victim is counted towards the U-visa quota. For example, let’s say husband, wife, and child, are attached coming from a train station. The police are called and the responsible people are convicted. All three could apply for a primary U-Visa petition, and in some cases we will do so. However, typically we include one person as primary and the rest as derivative beneficiaries to maximize your chance to get a U-Visa as soon as possible.

How can you increase the chances of approval for your U-visa petition?

The most crucial requirement of a U-visa is being helpful’ to law enforcement that must be present before, during and after approval for a U-visa, in other words ongoing responsibility to be helpful. In cases of domestic violence, being helpful to law enforcement may make you uncomfortable or increase your mental anguish. This is why you should work with victim advocates who will put your needs first by negotiating your helpfulness to law enforcement. Successful helpfulness negotiation will build rapport between you, your attorney, and law enforcement. Immigration attorneys and victim advocates know the system well thus your chances of U-visa approval are increase greatly when working with one or both of them. Don’t just say you were harmed. Show it. USCIS cares less about what you say and more about what you can prove. That means get as much evidence to corroborate your version of the events. For example, medical records, police records, photographs, psychologist reports, and similar proof. Free Resources Available for You

If you face immigration an immigration challenge we have some valuable resources for you:

  1. Do You Need an Immigration Attorney? You Might Not I will explain when you need an immigration attorney. Not every needs one. I will also explain the benefits of hiring one in any immigration challenge.
  2. 7 Critical Questions to ask Before Hiring an Immigration Attorney If you have decided that you need an immigration attorney, how do you make sure you hire a good one? I explain to you the questions you need to ask before you hire your immigration attorney.
  3. An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court Here I discuss what happens if you get arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement, what you need to know to get out of custody, and what to expect if you are placed in removal hearings. I also explain the municipal court process and how a municipal court matter can result in your being placed into removal proceedings.

If you have immigration questions, we have answers. You can,

  1. Call our knowledgeable staff at 888-695-6169;
  2. Fill out our contact us form on this page; or
  3. Select our live chat feature to speak to someone right away.

We help immigrants, one petition at a time.