U Visa Program Faces Prolonged Delays

United States U Visa

The wait to get a U visa approved can run into many years. Immigrants risk their lives to cooperate with law enforcement and do not get their applications adjudicated for a long time. Currently, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is processing U visa applications from March 2016.

What Is the U Visa?

In 2000, Congress created the U visa to encourage victims of criminal activities to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement authorities, to ultimately improve public safety. These victims must have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to criminal activity occurring in the United States or violating a U.S. federal law outside the United States. Additionally, the law enforcement authorities must certify that the victim has been, is being, or will likely be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. In exchange for this cooperation, victims can potentially obtain legal status in the United States.

USCIS limits the number of U visa applications per year to 10,000. Applicants and derivatives can