What is U Nonimmigrant Status?
- Lawful immigration status for immigrant crime victims and certain derivative family members through the granting of a U Visa that:
- Provides authorization to work lawfully in the U.S.
- Provides pathway to lawful permanent residence.
- Enhances law enforcement’s ability to investigate crimes by encouraging non-citizens to report their victimization and seek protection from law enforcement
- Guidance: USCIS website
Judge’s Role in U Nonimmigrant Status
- Federal immigration laws explicitly empower federal, state, and local judges to sign U Certifications.
- Like special findings for SIJS, a family court judge’s certification is a preliminary step to initiate a child’s application process.
- Immigration authorities [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)] have the SOLE authority to determine eligibility.
U Nonimmigrant Status v. SIJS
- A child in Article 10 proceedings may qualify for both U Nonimmigrant status and SIJS.
- Many children opt to apply for SIJS because:
- SIJS generally provides a much faster path to a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) card.
- Unlike the U Visa that has a current annual limit of 10,000 approvals per year, there is no limit on the number of SIJS approvals that can be issued by federal immigration authorities on an annual basis.
U Nonimmigrant Status for Parents
- Parents whose children have been the victims of crime may also be eligible for U Nonimmigrant status as “indirect victims.”
- See U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide p. 7 for guidance on direct and indirect victims.
- Non-respondent and respondent parents may request certification from the court even if their child is a U.S. citizen.
update later – Click here for a complete training on U Nonimmigrant Status