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U Visa – Filing for Derivative Family Members

uscis.jpgWe recently discussed U visa eligibility on the blog and noted that this type of nonimmigrant visa provides relief to victims of qualifying crimes by granting them temporary legal status and work authorization in the U.S. for 4 years. The form you must complete is a Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-918. There is no cost for filing this form.

The types of evidence you may submit to prove that you are a victim of direct and proximate harm from a qualifying criminal activity include, but are not limited to:

  • Police reports
  • Court documents
  • Trial transcripts
  • News articles
  • Orders of protection

In order to prove that you suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from being a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, you should also submit evidence demonstrating the nature and severity of the abuse. In determining whether abuse is substantial, USCIS considers the following factors:

  • The nature of the injury inflicted;
  • The severity of the perpetrator’s conduct;
  • The severity of the harm you suffered;
  • The duration of the infliction of the harm; and
  • The extent to which there is permanent or serious harm to your appearance, health, or physical or mental soundness.

You must also file a U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, Form I-918, Supplement B, with your initial petition. The certifying official of the law enforcement agency that is investigating or prosecuting the qualified criminal activity must complete this form.

Once your U visa petition is approved, certain qualifying family members may be eligible for a derivative U visa. If your petition is approved and you are under 21 years of age, then you can petition for your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18. If your petition is approved and you are 21 years of age or older, then you can petition for your spouse and children. To petition for these qualified family members, you must file a Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient, Form I-918, Supplement A. You can do so at the same time that you file your initial petition or at a later date.

While this blog gives provides a glimpse into the types of evidence needed for a successful U visa application, please contact a skilled immigration attorney for more information.