Frequently asked questions related obtaining certification for a U visa.
U Visas Generally
The U visa is for immigrants who have been victims of a crime and assist or are willing to assist U.S. authorities in investigating and/or prosecuting that crime.
be eligible to apply for a U visa, a person must:
Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of certain types of crimes;
Possess information about that criminal activity;
Provide a certification from a law enforcement official, prosecutor, or judge that the person has been, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity; and
Show that the criminal activity violated the laws of the United States
In order to be eligible for a U visa, the victim must obtain a certification from a law enforcement official or agency attesting to his/her helpfulness in prosecuting the crime. This is USCIS form I-918B.
Who can certify the form?
The form can be certified by a federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other government official who can attest to the victims past, current, or future helpfulness in the prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity.
If the petition is certified, is the case automatically approved?
No, not necessarily. The helpfulness in prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity is only one component of the eligibility for a U visa. The applicant must also show that s/he has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.
Does the victim have to testify to obtain the certification?
No, there is no requirement that the victim must testify in open or closed court to be "helpful" in the prosecution of the crime. The certifying law enforcement authority can look tomor her factors to determine helpfulness such as cooperating with the police, answering any/all requested questions, participating in identifying the abuser, etc. However, if the victim is forced to testify and unreasonably refuses to do so, s/he may not obtain the required certification.
If the crime happened many years ago can I still apply and obtain certification?
Yes, there is no requirement that the helpfulness for purposes of certification is current. It can also have been past assistance by the victim. Keep in mind however that all other requirements of the U visa must be met so the longer the time that has passed since obtaining the certification, the less likely an applicant is to prove the substantial physical and mental abuse component of the U visa.
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