U visa approval time – U visa is a US non-immigrant for victims who suffered severe emotional and physical abuse from criminals in the united states. The U visa was specifically designed for the two reasons below;
- To protect victims of crimes who are not US citizens.
- To gather information regarding crimes.
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So, if you have been the victim of a crime while visiting, vacationing, school, or even on a business trip in the U.S, you might be eligible for a U visa, which would allow you to legally stay in the United States and also assist you in adjusting your status in getting a green card down the line.
However, it is important to note that the U visa is by no means a quick fix U visa approval time is quite a lengthy process. This article discusses the potential timeline for getting the U visa.
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Basic Procedures to Getting a U Visa as a Crime Victim
After being a victim of any criminal activity in the united states, to be considered for a U visa you will be required to file Form I-918 Petition for Nonimmigrant Status and you will need to provide supporting documents that show you were a victim of a crime such as police reports, court documents, medical records, your impact statement and many more.
You will also require the assistance of the cooperation of law enforcement agencies in the united states to file a U visa. The qualified law enforcement agency you choose to use must fill out Form I-918B Certificate of Helpfulness on your behalf, giving a well-detailed explanation of how you have assisted law enforcement in prosecuting your case.
USCIS’s U Visa Processing Backlog
Each year, USCIS grants only 10,000 U visas. While this might seem like a lot, the demand for U visas has far outstripped the supply, leading to a tremendous backlog.
As of March 2021, the Vermont Service Center was taking 59 months to process U visa petitions. The Nebraska Service Center has U visa approval time.
The USCIS includes this period from the time you first file your application until the time they receive your application and make an initial determination of eligibility.
To alleviate the backlog for vulnerable immigrant crime victims, President Biden has proposed the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This bill would triple the number of available U visas each year to 30,000. However, that bill has not been passed yet.
Deferred Action Status
This allows U visa applicants to remain in the united states while their U visa approval application is pending after the initial waiting period due to the backlog, USCIS will process and review your U visa application.
If USCIS determines that you initially appear to be eligible for U status, it will add your application to the waitlist, in a process known as “deferred action.” This helps ensure you’re not viewed as being in the U.S. illegally.
Your Status While Awaiting a U Visa
The U visa approval time is a lengthy one, it might likely take you eight years or more from start to finish.
Until you have received a U visa, you do not have lawful status in the United States you will still accrue unlawful presence, this might limit your ability to seek other immigration relief.
Although a U visa does not confer any lawful status, you can still pursue other forms of immigration relief, that is if you are eligible.
Some U visa applicants can also go to the extent of filing an asylum claim.
Those who have other immigration possibilities, such as adjusting status as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, can file I-601A provisional unlawful presence waivers along with an application to adjust status.
You must also notify the processing center about any name changes, marital status changes, new criminal records, or any other relevant changes to your life circumstances.
There is no specific U visa approval time, the deferred action allows immigrants to remain in the country legally until the U visa is approved.