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Presented by:
David H. Nachman, Esq.
Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C.
(VISASERVE)
A U-Visa lets victims of crimes who meet certain requirements stay in
the United States. A U-Visa provides the following b...
If you do not have immigration papers, you can apply for a
U-Visa. You also can apply for a U-Visa if you stayed after
you...
To be eligible for a U-Visa, you must have been the victim of one of the
crimes listed below. It does not matter whether t...
You can apply for a U- Visa only if the crime happened in the U.S.
HAVE YOU SUFFERED FROM A CRIME?
• Domestic abuse
(your ...
To be eligible for a U-Visa, you must have helped law enforcement. There are
many ways of doing this. The box below shows ...
To apply for a U-Visa, you need to fill out certain forms and put
together papers that support what you say on the forms. ...
Processing time vary. The government is currently taking
about 6-9 months to approve or deny a U application. This
time ma...
To qualify you for the U-Visa, you must have been hurt. You need to have
suffered either physical or mental harm or both.
...
The U-Visa is free. You do not have to pay to apply.
However, most people have to send in an additional form
called a waiv...
Sometimes. If you get a U-Visa, you can get papers for
some of your family members. But, you have to apply for
them to get...
If you decide to apply for them, you can do so now or you can apply after you
get your own U-Visa and are released from de...
Legal requirements: You
must meet all of these
conditions to apply:
Documents you need:
You must send the
government all o...
 Many people have done things (such as committing a crime or entering the
U.S. illegally) that make it difficult for them...
 There are many possible reasons why you might need a waiver. The box
below provides a list of some of the acts that requ...
 The waiver costs hundreds of dollars but most
people in detention can apply for free. If you
cannot afford a waiver (bec...
 The government will balance good things that you have
done in this country against the bad things that you have
done. Go...
 I have many criminal convictions and immigration violations. Do I need to fill out a separate form for each reason?”
◦ N...
Seven-Step Checklist in Applying for a U-Visa:
 Obtain a Supp-B from law enforcement saying that you
were helpful (proces...
Supp-B Check list:
 Figure out who to ask for the Supp-B
 Complete Part I of the Supp-B form
 Draft a Cover Letter
 Se...
 You must include a personal statement about what happened to you with your U-Visa application.
This statement is your op...
 You can help your case by sending the government extra documents, like the
police report from the crime you suffered, or...
 Police Report: When the police investigated the crime of which you were a
victim, they made a police report. This report...
 When the government looks at your application, it is very interested
in seeing evidence that you suffered harm.
 So it ...
 Letters from people who saw or heard what happened to you are a good way of
showing you suffered harm because o f the cr...
 Think about whether there are other documents that might help show what happened to you.
Below is a list of other docume...
 Now You have gathered all the documents you need to apply for a U-Visa. Below are the remaining steps you must take to
f...
 Photograph
 Fingerprints
* Attend meeting scheduled at the application
support center (ASC)
 Boilerplate RFEs that don’t mention your
evidence
 HotlinefollowupI918I914.usc@dhs.gov
 HotlineFollowUpI-360.Vsc@dhs.g...
 Work with you on response
 Send problem cases and systemic issues to VSC
heads
 Work with USCIS HQ and Ombudsman’s off...
 Math time! How to benefit the largest number of petitioners.
 Creative arguments for “Qualifying Criminal Activity” cat...
 Nexus between experiencing the crime and harm is key!
 What behaviors, emotions, etc. do you see in crime victims that ...
 “U Visas for Victims of Workplace Crimes” by Eunice Cho (National Employment Law
Project), available at: http://www.nelp...
 Work with victim advocates (VA)
◦ VAs are either embedded in the criminal system or
◦ Service provider organization, suc...
 Provide law enforcement information from a trusted source
◦ The U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Guide for Federal S...
Questions?
Please contact our office for further information:
info@visaserve.com
201-670-0006 (ext. 107)
http://www.visase...
U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)
U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)
U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)
U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)
U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)
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U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)

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A U-Visa lets victims of crimes who meet certain requirements stay in the United States. A U-Visa provides the following benefits:
You can legally live in the United States for four years. After three years of having a U-Visa you can apply for a green card to stay in the U.S. permanently. (And if you get a green card, you can eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen).
With a U-Visa you can get permission to work in the United States.
Some of your family members might also be able to get a U-Visa
With a U-Visa you might be eligible for certain public benefits in some States like California and New York.

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U VISA ISSUES (Victims of Criminal Activity)

  1. 1. Presented by: David H. Nachman, Esq. Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C. (VISASERVE)
  2. 2. A U-Visa lets victims of crimes who meet certain requirements stay in the United States. A U-Visa provides the following benefits:  You can legally live in the United States for four years. After three years of having a U-Visa you can apply for a green card to stay in the U.S. permanently. (And if you get a green card, you can eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen).  With a U-Visa you can get permission to work in the United States.  Some of your family members might also be able to get a U-Visa  With a U-Visa you might be eligible for certain public benefits in some States like California and New York.
  3. 3. If you do not have immigration papers, you can apply for a U-Visa. You also can apply for a U-Visa if you stayed after your papers expired. If you have a green card, you should ask a lawyer whether you can apply for a U-Visa. You can apply for a U-Visa when you are outside the United State, so you may want to keep this option in mind if you have to leave the country.
  4. 4. To be eligible for a U-Visa, you must have been the victim of one of the crimes listed below. It does not matter whether the person who hurt you was convicted or even arrested for the crime. It also does not matter whether the person who hurt you had immigration papers. Different laws sometimes use different names to describe the same crime. As long as the crime is the same as one on the list, it does not matter if the police where you live call it something different. You can still apply for a U-Visa.
  5. 5. You can apply for a U- Visa only if the crime happened in the U.S. HAVE YOU SUFFERED FROM A CRIME? • Domestic abuse (your family member or partner beat or harassed you) • Felonious assault (examples: shooting, stabbing, mugging, or home invasion when you are home) • Involuntary servitude (being forced to do work you do not want to do) • Peonage (being forced to do work you do not want to do to pay off a debt) • Rape • Sexual assault • Abusive Sexual contact • Forced Prostitution • Sexual exploitation •Female genital mutilation • Incest • Kidnapping • Abduction • Being held hostage • Slave trade • Unlawful criminal restraint • False imprisonment • Manslaughter • Murder • Torture • Trafficking • Blackmail • Extortion • Obstruction of Justice • Witness tampering • Perjury Or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes
  6. 6. To be eligible for a U-Visa, you must have helped law enforcement. There are many ways of doing this. The box below shows you some of them. Even if you only helped law enforcement in one way – for example, calling 911 – you may still apply for a U-Visa. Type of Law Enforcement Help • Did you call the police? •Did you tell the police about what happened? •Did you answer their questions? •Did you let them take pictures? • Did you help the police find who did the crime? • Did you talk to a prosecutor? • Did you testify in court?
  7. 7. To apply for a U-Visa, you need to fill out certain forms and put together papers that support what you say on the forms. You then will send these documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“the government”). The government will decide whether you should receive a U-Visa. You do not need to go to court or an interview. You do not need a lawyer. However, when possible, it is better to apply with the help of a lawyer or victim advocate. The government will make its decision based entirely on the forms and papers that you send.
  8. 8. Processing time vary. The government is currently taking about 6-9 months to approve or deny a U application. This time may change depending on the number of applications people send in. Also, it can take longer if the government requests more information partway through the process. If you are in immigration court, you can usually ask the judge to postpone your case in order to see if the U application is approved.
  9. 9. To qualify you for the U-Visa, you must have been hurt. You need to have suffered either physical or mental harm or both. Sexual abuse will almost always make a person eligible for a U-Visa, because it cause both physical and mental harm. It does not matter whether you were hurt by a single act, or by many acts over time, such as domestic violence. Injuries • Did you have pain? • Are you still injured or in pain? •If you were already sick, did the crime make it worse? • Did it affect how you look? • Did you have to miss work? • Did you have to go to the doctor? • Did you have to take medicine? • Were you anxious or depressed? • Did you have to see a therapist? • Did you feel sad? • Did you have trouble eating or sleeping?
  10. 10. The U-Visa is free. You do not have to pay to apply. However, most people have to send in an additional form called a waiver, and there is a fee for the waiver. People who cannot afford the fee can ask to apply for the waiver for free.
  11. 11. Sometimes. If you get a U-Visa, you can get papers for some of your family members. But, you have to apply for them to get papers. If you want to apply for your family, you will need to fill out Form I-918 Supplement A. It does not matter if your family members are in the United States or if they are here legally.
  12. 12. If you decide to apply for them, you can do so now or you can apply after you get your own U-Visa and are released from detention. Below is a list of people who are also eligible to receive U-Visa if the government approves your U-Visa application and you apply for them: If you are under 21: If you are 21 or over: • Your parents • Your legally married spouse* • Your children (if they are unmarried and under 21) • Your unmarried brothers and Sisters under 18 • Your legally married spouse* • Your children
  13. 13. Legal requirements: You must meet all of these conditions to apply: Documents you need: You must send the government all of these documents: Other: These documents are helpful, but not necessary: • Crime requirement Have you been the victim of a crime that occurred in the U.S.? •Helpfulness requirement Have you been helpful to the police or law enforcement? •Harm requirement Have you been hurt, either physically or mentally because of the crime? • Form I-918 Supplement B (also known as Supp-B) The form that shows that you helped law enforcement • Form I-918 The main form for a U-Visa application • Personal statement The story in your own words of what happened to you • Form I-192 (if applicable) Waiver form: If you have committed either immigration or criminal violations, you need to ask the government permsision to stay in the U.S. • Cover letter A letter that you send along with your application • Identity documents Documents that show who you are, like passports and birth certificates • Police and court records Which prove you were the victim of a crime •Letters from friends & family Which talk about the crime and the harm you suffered •Letters from doctors & mental health professionals Which help prove you were harmed by the crime
  14. 14.  Many people have done things (such as committing a crime or entering the U.S. illegally) that make it difficult for them to get permission from the government to stay in the U.S. The good news is that the U-Visa is different from most other visas because the government will forgive almost anything you have done in the past as long s you ask. The process of asking the government for forgiveness is called a “waiver”. When you ask for a waiver, you list all of the things you want the government to forgive.  Most U-Visa applicants apply for a waiver, and the government is usually generous in granting these waivers. If you are in detention, you need to ask for forgiveness of crimes and/or immigration violations you committed.
  15. 15.  There are many possible reasons why you might need a waiver. The box below provides a list of some of the acts that require a waiver.  The government is generous in granting these waivers, so you should be completely honest about all the reasons why you need a waiver. If you do not know if you need a waiver, it is best to apply for a waiver anyway. Do you have any of these things on your record? You need a waiver if you have broken immigration laws: •coming to the U.S. without papers or with someone else’s papers •returning to the country after you were deported •Saying that you were a U.S. citizen if you are not •not showing up to immigration court for a hearing You need a waiver if you have committed almost any crime, including: •Any drug offense •Theft or fraud •Crimes involving violence •Helping a non-citizen enter the country illegally •Prostitution You also need a waiver if: • You have a serious infectious disease (except HIV) • You are addicted to drugs • You have certain physical or mental disorders • You practice polygamy • You voted illegally
  16. 16.  The waiver costs hundreds of dollars but most people in detention can apply for free. If you cannot afford a waiver (because, for example , you do not have a job or any other income) you can ask the government to process your waiver application for free.
  17. 17.  The government will balance good things that you have done in this country against the bad things that you have done. Good things include helping law enforcement, taking care of your family and working hard. Bad things include crimes and immigration violations. You will not need to go to court or speak with government will decide whether to give you a waiver when it looks at your U-Visa application.
  18. 18.  I have many criminal convictions and immigration violations. Do I need to fill out a separate form for each reason?” ◦ No. You can list all of the reasons on the same form.  I have been deported twice before. The judge told me I could never come to the U.S. again. Can I still apply for a U-Visa? ◦ Yes, No matter if you have been deported in the past, you can apply for a U-Visa. But you will need a waiver.  What are my chances of getting a waiver? ◦ The government is generous when it grants waivers to U-Visa applicants. Even if you have committed many crimes, you can apply. But, you should include in your application all of the reasons why you think the government should forgive you (for example, because of your family ties and community involvement).  How can I get a full list of every possible reason why I might need a waiver? ◦ One of them is called I-918. At Part 3 of the I-918 form is a long list of questions. If you answer any of them “YES”, you may need a waiver. ◦ If you have any doubt at all about whether you need a waiver, you should ask for it. To make sure that you get the waiver you need, you should write down every reason that you think may apply to you.  Am I less likely to get a U-Visa if I need a waiver? ◦ NO. Most U-Visa applicants apply for a waiver, and the government is usually generous in granting these waivers. As long as you are truthful. However, if you committed a violent crime or have multiple criminal offenses, you should work with a lawyer or advocate familiar with U-Visas because without help, it will be harder to get a U-Visa.
  19. 19. Seven-Step Checklist in Applying for a U-Visa:  Obtain a Supp-B from law enforcement saying that you were helpful (process).  Complete the U-Visa Application, Form I-918  Complete the Waiver Application, Form I-192  Write your Personal Statement.  Try to obtain additional documents to support your case.  Put your application and supporting documents together.  Mail your application to the government.
  20. 20. Supp-B Check list:  Figure out who to ask for the Supp-B  Complete Part I of the Supp-B form  Draft a Cover Letter  Send your cover letter with the Supp-B form to the police and/or prosecutor  Wait to receive your signed Supp-B Form from the police and/or prosecutor  Once you receive your signed Supp-B ask for a bond hearing (if you are in detention) so that you can try to get released from detention while you file your U-Visa application.
  21. 21.  You must include a personal statement about what happened to you with your U-Visa application. This statement is your opportunity to tell the government why you should get a U-Visa. Remember there is no court hearing or interview – the statement is your only opportunity to explain everything that happened to you. So you should tell the government how you meet all the requirements: crime, helpfulness, and harm. Read part I of this manual again to remind yourself of what these requirements are. You should also say why you deserve foregiveness for any crimes you have committed or for any immigration violations.  The statement also helps you explain any gaps in your story or anything that might seem strange to the government. For example, if you did not seek medical help after being injured, you can explain that you could not afford to, or that you were afraid to because you did not have papers. You can also use your statement to explain any answers to questions on the other U-Visa forms you filled out.  Your personal statement must be in English so if you do not speak English you will need to find someone to help you translate it into English. But, be sure to include your original statement in your native language because the government likes to get written statements in your own language, as long as you have it translated.
  22. 22.  You can help your case by sending the government extra documents, like the police report from the crime you suffered, or a letter from a doctor. In this section, We will help you collect these documents.  Although these documents are not necessary (you can still apply for a U-Visa without them) they help strengthen your case. You should do everything possible to obtain at least some of these additional documents.
  23. 23.  Police Report: When the police investigated the crime of which you were a victim, they made a police report. This report will contain your name, the name of any suspects or witness, a description of what the police saw happening, and a record of what people told the police. It is kept on file at the police department.  Court Records: You can also try to get court records. If the police charged someone for the crime you were a victim of there will be court records of the case. These records will include the charges, and they will say what happened at each court hearing.
  24. 24.  When the government looks at your application, it is very interested in seeing evidence that you suffered harm.  So it helps to have letters from doctors and/or mental health professionals (therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.), Which prove that you suffered emotional and/or physical injuries. It is also useful to have copies of your medical records.
  25. 25.  Letters from people who saw or heard what happened to you are a good way of showing you suffered harm because o f the crime. (You can also get letters from people who saw what effects the crime had on you mentally and/or physically.)  These letters can be in a foreign language, but they have to be translated into English when you send them to the government.  Think carefully about who to ask. The more letters you get, the better. Other than family and friends, you might also see about getting letters from the following people (if applicable): ◦ Teachers ◦ Leaders in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other religious institutions ◦ Teammates, if you played sports ◦ Co-workers Once you get the letters you can send them with the rest of your application.
  26. 26.  Think about whether there are other documents that might help show what happened to you. Below is a list of other documents to try to get. OTHER EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME AND YOUR HELPFULNESS TO THE POLICE: ◦ Pictures of your injuries ◦ Restraining order(s) sometimes called protection orders ◦ Record of any 911 calls ◦ Newspaper articles describing the crime OTHER EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON AND DESERVE TO BE FORGIVEN FOR CRIMES AND/OR IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS: ◦ Evidence to show your community ties (volunteer work, award received, work history, etc.) ◦ Evidence of rehabilitation ◦ Copies of birth certificates of U.S. Citizen children ◦ Letters from work supervisors, church clergy, your child’s teacher(s), neighbors and friends talking about what a good person and/or parent your are ◦ Letters from family or friends in your home country describing how difficult your life would be if you had to return.
  27. 27.  Now You have gathered all the documents you need to apply for a U-Visa. Below are the remaining steps you must take to finish your application. ◦ Get documents translated ◦ Get the coverletter ready ◦ Obtain a copy of your identity document  Gather everything together  Necessary  Cover letter  Identity documents  I-918 Main form  Supp-B  Personal statement  Necessary for a Waiver  I-192 Waiver form  I-912 Fee waiver form  Optional but highly recommended  Police report  Court Records  Doctors’s Letters  Family letters ◦ Send your application
  28. 28.  Photograph  Fingerprints * Attend meeting scheduled at the application support center (ASC)
  29. 29.  Boilerplate RFEs that don’t mention your evidence  HotlinefollowupI918I914.usc@dhs.gov  HotlineFollowUpI-360.Vsc@dhs.gov  Credible evidence: explain discrepancies & “best evidence”  Roadmap cover letter & document index  Motion to reopen and/or reconsider
  30. 30.  Work with you on response  Send problem cases and systemic issues to VSC heads  Work with USCIS HQ and Ombudsman’s office  Collaborate with AILA VAWA committee
  31. 31.  Math time! How to benefit the largest number of petitioners.  Creative arguments for “Qualifying Criminal Activity” category  Argue fits “category” not similar ◦ “Domestic Violence” – choking, terroist threats, arson, misdemeanor assaults, etc. ◦ “Felonious Assault” – Robbery  Direct vs. Indirect Victims ◦ Direct victims, “direct and proximate” harm, geographic proximity ◦ Who can qualify as an indirect victim? ◦ Incompetence as a result of the qualifying criminal activity ◦ Murder/manslaughter and psychological harm-based direct victims ◦ “Bystanders” ◦ USC child victims ◦ Creative ways to show “substantial abuse”
  32. 32.  Nexus between experiencing the crime and harm is key!  What behaviors, emotions, etc. do you see in crime victims that show they are suffering and/or having trouble recuperating from the crime?  Advocates and social workers may be best positioned to provide this detail and nexus  Mental health symptoms may be delayed so check in with client in several months.
  33. 33.  “U Visas for Victims of Workplace Crimes” by Eunice Cho (National Employment Law Project), available at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/justice/2014/U-Visas-for-Victims-of- Workplace-Crime-Practice-Manual-NELP.pdf?nocdn=1  Difficulties posed by workplace crimes (identifying clients, showing “substantial abuse”)  Most common workplace crimes: ◦ Abusive sexual contact / rape / sexual assault / sexual exploitation Blackmail / extortion ◦ Felonious assault ◦ Involuntary servitude / peonage / trafficking ◦ Obstruction of justice / witness tampering ◦ New Crime: Fraud in foreign labor trafficking
  34. 34.  Work with victim advocates (VA) ◦ VAs are either embedded in the criminal system or ◦ Service provider organization, such as domestic violence shelters or rape crisis centers.  Broaden Your Resources ◦ Explore other possible allies who may have influence and relationships of trust with law enforcement, such as faith-based and community-based organizations or local or state government officials.  Be Proactive and test the waters ◦ Do not wait for a crisis (real case) to reach out and meet with them; ◦ Use hypotheticals to explore where they are likely to be sympathetic and where may need more “education”  Reach Out to Local Experts ◦ Check with those in your area already working with nonimmigrant U status applicants. Benefit from their vast experience!
  35. 35.  Provide law enforcement information from a trusted source ◦ The U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Guide for Federal State , Local, Tribal and Territorial Law Enforcement (Dec. 2011) available at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/dhs_u_visa_certification_guide.pdf. ◦ The FAQs are particularly helpful to share with law enforcement because it answer critical questions law enforcement officials often raise.
  36. 36. Questions? Please contact our office for further information: info@visaserve.com 201-670-0006 (ext. 107) http://www.visaserve.com

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