The Department of Homeland Security published an updated resource guide to clarify and further explain the role of certifying agencies in the U and T visa application process. This guide addresses concerns, answers common questions, and provides accurate information on signing I-918B and I-914B forms for federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other government agencies qualified to sign U visa certifications such as the EEOC, federal and state labor departments, adult and child protective services, and any other eligible agencies that have criminal, civil, or administrative investigative or prosecutorial authority. The guide provides information on what U and T visas are, discusses U visa qualifying criminal activities and severe forms of trafficking in persons, explains the standard for "helpfulness" and "reasonable request for assistance", and has many more important tips and information about the U and T visa.
The U visa is an immigration benefit for victims of crimes who meet certain eligibility requirements. USCIS may find an individual eligible for a U visa if the victim:
- Is the direct or indirect victim of qualifying criminal activity
- Has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity;
- Has information about the criminal activity; and
- Was helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, or other officials in the detection, investigation, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the criminal activity.
The T visa is an immigration benefit for victims of human trafficking who meet certain eligibility
requirements. USCIS may find an individual eligible for a T visa if the victim:
- Is or was a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons (which may include sex or labor trafficking), as defined by federal law;
- Is in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or at a U.S. port of entry due to trafficking;
- Has complied with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking; and
- Would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States.
For both visas, the victim must be admissible based on a review of criminal history, immigration violations, and other factors to the United States. If inadmissible, the individual may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility for which he or she may be eligible.
The U and T visas allow eligible victims to temporarily remain and work in the U.S., generally for four years.