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5Check to see if you are eligible to request a U Visa Certification


To qualify for a U Visa, the victim of a qualifying crime in the United States must provide evidence to USCIS, establishing, amongst other things, that he or she is assisting, has assisted, or will assist Law Enforcement if assistance is reasonably requested. One of the required pieces of evidence to establish eligibility for U nonimmigrant status is a U Visa Certification Form. While the Certification does not confer any immigration benefits or status, it is an essential confirmation that the qualifying crime occurred and that the victim was helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity.

Law enforcement agencies play a key role in the certification process. State and local Law Enforcement Agencies, such as police, sheriffs, protective service agencies, prosecutors, as well as state and local judges, can help a person apply for a U Visa as they are often in the best position to verify whether the reported crime occurred and to confirm a victim’s helpfulness.

Such certification is necessary but not sufficient to obtain a U Visa; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), makes the final determination whether to issue a U Visa to an applicant.

A U Visa Certification is ONLY valid for six (6) months. If USCIS receives the U Visa Petition more than six months after the form was signed, the Certification has expired and will not be accepted. In these situations, the victim must request a newly executed Certification to support their Petition.

If you already have a non-expired U Visa Certification, please visit our U Visa Petition page for more information.

NOTE: An agency's decision to sign a certification is entirely discretionary and is under the authority of that agency. Signature does not have the authority to require that any law enforcement agency sign the certification. The Agency is also not legally required to sign the certification. However, without a certification signed by the police, you will not be eligible to apply for a U Visa.

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The following is a list of criminal behaviors that were recognized as ones that are often directed against immigrants and that therefore constitute qualifying criminal activity for purposes of U visa eligibility.  The list includes categories of federal, state, or local criminal violations:

  •     Abduction
  •     Abusive Sexual Contact
  •     Blackmail
  •     Domestic Violence
  •     Extortion
  •     False Imprisonment
  •     Female Genital Mutilation
  •     Felonious Assault
  •     Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
  •     Hostage
  •     Incest
  •     Involuntary Servitude
  •     Kidnapping
  •     Manslaughter
  •     Murder
  •     Obstruction of Justice
  •     Peonage
  •     Perjury
  •     Prostitution
  •     Rape
  •     Sexual Assault
  •     Sexual Exploitation
  •     Slave Trade
  •     Stalking
  •     Torture
  •     Trafficking
  •     Witness Tampering
  •     Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  •     Other Related Crimes

Qualifying crimes also include any similar activity, meaning criminal offenses in which the nature and elements of the offenses are substantially similar to the statutorily enumerated list of criminal activities. Also included is an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

Certifying agencies include state and local bodies responsible for the investigation, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the criminal activity, and include (but are not limited to):

  • Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies;
  • Federal, state, and local prosecutors’ offices;
  • Federal, state, and local judges;
  • Federal, state, and local family protective services;
  • Federal and state Departments of Labor;
  • Other investigative agencies.

The official providing the certification must be:

  • The head of the certifying agency;
  • An official in a supervisory role who has been specifically designated by the head of the certifying agency to issue U Visa certifications on behalf of that agency; or
  • A federal, state, or local judge.

You will receive from the certifying agency:

  • Form I-918 Supplement B completed and signed by an authorized certifying official.

The law may vary depending on the location. For example, in California, the law requires the certifying agency to respond to a U Visa Certification request within 90 days (or 14 days if the requester is in removal proceedings).

NOTE: A Certification is valid ONLY for six (6) months from the date of certification.

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