The PURPOSE of U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa):
- Enhance law enforcement’s ability to investigate crimes by encouraging non-citizens to report their victimization and seek the protection of law enforcement.
- Provide humanitarian immigration relief (and work authorization) to immigrant crime victims and certain derivative family members.
- As part of the statutory scheme, the federal government asks state actors, including the family courts, to certify if the immigrant crime victim has been helpful to law enforcement and the courts.
What is a U Certification?
- A signed Form I-918 Supplement B, known as a U Certification, is REQUIRED in order to apply for
U Nonimmigrant Status.
- A U Certification does NOT confer U Nonimmigrant Status but rather is one key component in an application for the benefit.
- Federal immigration laws explicitly empower Federal, State, and local judges to sign U Certifications.
- Judges in family court, matrimonial and integrated domestic violence (IDV) court preside over proceedings in which qualifying criminal activity can be detected.
When Can U Certification be Issued?
- Judges may issue a U Certification at ANY point in a proceeding:
- After a petition for an order of protection is filed,
- After an ex parte hearing under oath and the
issuance of a temporary order of protection,
- After a consent order,
- After a fact-finding hearing or inquest.
Issuance of a U Certification does not require:
- Sworn testimony
- A finding of fact
- An active case (case can be closed)