This is continuations of the 2 parts articles on U Visas for Victims of Crime. The U Visa non-immigrant status is set aside for the victims of crime who have suffered substantial mental and physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement authorities investigating those crimes.
In part I of the article, we provided detailed information as to who qualifies for U non-immigrant procedure to request U status and other details. In this part we continue additional information relating to U Visas and related issues.
Q: Can Family Members of the Petitioner Receive U Nonimmigrant Status?
A: Family members who accompany the petitioner can, under certain circumstances obtain a U nonimmigrant derivative visa. The U nonimmigrant visa principal must petition on behalf of qualifying family members.
If the principle of petitioner is...
Under 21 years of age
They may petition on behalf of spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings under age 18.
21 years of age or older
They may petition on behalf of spouse and children
The principal petitioner needs to file a Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient, on behalf of their qualifying family members.
Q: Can an Individual Who Has Held U Nonimmigrant Status Eventually Apply for a Green Card (Permanent Residence)?
- The individual must have been physically present in the United for a continuous period of at least three years since the date of admission as a U nonimmigrant,
- The individual must not have unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since receiving a U nonimmigrant visa.
- The certifying agency must determine that the individual's continued presence in the country is justified on humanitarian grounds to ensure continuation of a cohesive family, or is otherwise in the national or public interest.
Q: Can Qualifying Family Members Apply for Permanent Residence (a Green Card)?
A: Yes. There are two ways family members of a U nonimmigrant visa holder can apply for a green card. First, family members who hold a derivative U nonimmigrant visa themselves may be eligible for a green card. Second, certain family members who have never held a derivative U nonimmigrant visa may be eligible for a green card.
Q: What are the Eligibility Requirements for Qualifying Family Members Who Have Never Held U Nonimmigrant Status to be Granted Permanent Resident Status?
A: The law allows USCIS to extend these benefits to spouses, children, and parents based upon their relationship to the principal U ("U-1") nonimmigrant if:
- The qualifying family member was never admitted to the United States in U nonimmigrant status, and
- It is established that either the family member or the U-1 principal applicant would suffer extreme hardship if the qualifying family member is not allowed to remain in or be admitted to the United States.
Q: What are the Procedures for Qualifying Family Members to Apply for Permanent Residency?
A: Family members with derivative U nonimmigrant visas may apply for green cards if the U-1 has met the eligibility requirements for permanent residence and the U-1's application for adjustment of status was approved, is currently pending, or is filed at the same time.
To apply for a green card, qualifying family members with a derivative U nonimmigrant status must file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. For detailed instructions and requirements about filing for a green card please refer to special instructions on Form I-485, Supplement E.
To apply for permanent residence for family members who have never held a derivative U nonimmigrant visa, the U-1 status holder must file an immigrant petition on Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, concurrently or subsequent to filing their Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. If the Form I-929 is approved, qualifying family members in the United States may file a Form I-485. Qualifying family members outside the United States may visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain their immigrant visas.
Q: Can a U-1 Nonimmigrant File a Form I-929, Petition For Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, on Behalf of a Sibling?
A: No, only the spouse, children, and parents (if the petitioner is under 21) of a U-1 nonimmigrant are eligible.
Q: When Can a U-1 Nonimmigrant File a Form I-929 on Behalf of a Qualifying Family Member?
A: U-1 nonimmigrants may file the Form I-929 concurrently with, or at any time after they have filed, their Form I-485 based upon their U status.
Q: Can a Family Member File Their Form I-485 Concurrently With the Form I-929?
A: No. Only the U-1 principle can file their Form I-485 concurrently with the Form I-929.
Q: Can the Form I-929 Be Approved Before the Petitioner's I-485 Is Approved?
A: No. The petitioner's I-485 must be approved prior to the approval of the I-929. If the petitioner's Form I-485 is denied, the Form I-929 will automatically be denied.
Q: Is a Biometric Fee Required for the Form I-929?
A: No. The only fee required is the filing fee.
Q: Can the Filing Fee Be Waived?
A: Yes. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may submit a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912 (or a written request). For more information about fee waiver guidance, click here.
Q: If the Petition is Approved, What Status Is Given To The Qualified Family Members (Beneficiary)?
A: Approval of the I-929 petition does not confer status upon the beneficiary.
Q: Does Approval of the I-929 Petition Grant Employment Authorization?
A: No. Approval of the petition only makes the beneficiary eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
Q: Is There an Annual Limit on the Number of I-929 Beneficiaries Who Can Be Approved?
A: No. There is no numerical limitation.
Q: Can a T Visa Holder File A Form I-929 on Behalf of His or Her Family Members?
A: No, Form I-929 may only be filed by a U-1 status holder on behalf of eligible family members.
For further information about entry requirements, you can contact our office, NPZ Law Group, P.C., at 201-670-0006 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.