Length of a U Visa Case

The wait for the U Visa application varies but typically it is up to a year to get the initial response and sometimes they will request more evidence and sometimes they will approve or deny the case at that point. They will say a person does not meet the requirements for U Visa or they will say that we want to approve a person’s case. If that happens, that letter is basically a statement that they have adjudicated a person’s case and they are qualified.

Right now, because there are not visas immediately available because of the backlog of applications, they will not actually issue a person’s U Visa at that point. They will send a letter, which is called the provisional approval, and with that letter, a person could apply for a work authorization and a person will be in something called deferred action status, which is similar to the deferred action for childhood arrival. That is the same status, so it is a legal status but it is not the U Visa status and a person begins to accrue time towards a person’s green card. Anyone going through the process of applying for a U Visa would benefit from the advisement of a Maryland U Visa attorney who knows the intricacies of the case and the application.

Impacting the Timeline

The timeline of U Visas is generally standard. The visas are adjudicated based on the receipt date. There may be a complex request for evidence regarding a person’s waiver of inadmissibility—if a person has, for example, a criminal history that leads to a request for evidence, the person has to document they have good moral character despite the criminal convictions at that time. And also it is not uncommon to get a request for evidence for the U Visa itself such as the document that a person is suffering and that it rose to the level that was required for the U Visa or for other reasons. Basically, any request for additional evidence is the main reason a case can be delayed, changing the length of the U Visa case.

Waiting Period

The year-long wait is typically just the waiting period to get the initial adjudication letter. Once a person gets their initial adjudication back, if it is approved, the individual will go into deferred action status. They are now legally allowed to remain in the country until the case is completed.  How long a case takes is going to depend on when the person filed it.

It currently takes a year to get the initial adjudication decision with an additional two years of backlog right now. Every fiscal year they issue 10,000 new U visas that opened up during the beginning of every fiscal year, which starts on October 1st. If a person makes it under that cap then the U Visa will be approved, now a person is looking at about two years until they actually move into actual U Visa status, and this could potentially change in the future.

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