DC U Visa Application Process

The first step in obtaining a U visa in DC is to apply for something called a law enforcement certification on USCIS Form I-918B (pdf). This is a pretty simple form which gives your own biographical information and some basic information about the crime, such as where it occurred, when it occurred, and what statutes were violated.

The catch is that the police or prosecutors need to sign off on this form affirming that you were actually helpful in whatever investigation and/or prosecution occurred. Once you have that then you can assemble the rest of the documents and submit it directly to USCIS.

Information Needed to Apply

First, it is important to understand that the information you provide does not need to result in a conviction. There don’t even have to have been charges filed, and a lot of times there aren’t.

However, there does have to be at the very least a police report. Also, if the prosecutors wanted to press charges, you have to have been cooperative in anything that they wanted you to do to facilitate that.

But, sometimes the perpetrator will get away or maybe they’ll be deported before there is a trial or charges are brought. That doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for the U visa.  There are a lot of different scenarios that can result in a case not even going to trial. So, a conviction or even an open case in criminal court is not required.

Role Of Law Enforcement Certification

The law enforcement certification is basically to ensure that you really were helpful in the investigation or the prosecution of the crime.

The police officer has to certify that whatever you were asked to do you did do, and you were a cooperative witness in whatever measures they attempted to take. The reason for this is because one of the main purposes that Congress had in mind with the U visa was to provide some sort of incentive for people who are undocumented to collaborate with police and/or with prosecutors to be witnesses in crimes in which they are victims. Often, people are afraid to call the police or afraid to be witnesses when they don’t have legal immigration status because they think that any contact with law enforcement might lead to a deportation or bring some kind of trouble with their with immigration status.

Therefore, the purpose of it is to encourage cooperation with law enforcement. For that reason, the application requires a certification from law enforcement that you were in fact cooperative.

Evidence Needed for a Certification

Generally, you don’t have to submit any evidence because the police or prosecutor will have their own records which indicate that the applicant was, in fact, the victim of a crime and that they were cooperative.

In the certification process, you don’t need to submit much except for a letter explaining the request and the crime. You have to facilitate communication with the law enforcement agency and that’s done differently in every jurisdiction.  Sometimes, it’s helpful to submit hospital records or a statement from the victim at this stage as well.

How An Attorney Can Help

One reason that hiring a DC U Visa lawyer is important is that sometimes obtaining the law enforcement certification can be really difficult. A lot of police departments and even prosecutor’s offices are totally unfamiliar with this type of application and think that it’s outside of their jurisdiction to participate in it.

Often these cases can involve convincing and educating law enforcement communities on the purpose of the U Visa and why they have authority to sign.

 

 

Our Approach to U Visa Cases

The first thing we look at in a potential U Visa case is whether or not the applicant is a victim of a qualifying crime. The second is whether or not they cooperated with the police. Sometimes an individual may have called the police and cooperated at the first stages of the investigation, but they may have declined to press charges when the prosecutor wanted to move forward. If that’s the case, it’s not likely that the applicant is going to qualify.

 

DC U Visa Attorney