What needs to be included in my U visa application?
*Please note that reading this section is not enough to be sure you are filing everything you need. We strongly encourage you to find an attorney with experience working in U visas to help you.*
With an attorney’s help, you will fill out an “Application for U Nonimmigrant Status,” which is called Form I-918. You must also include the Form I-918 Supplement B (the law enforcement certification). Depending on your situation, you may include the Form I-192 (the waiver for any grounds of inadmissibility) and the Form I-765 (for a work permit). You should consult with your attorney to see which forms to file in your case.
Along with the forms mentioned above, you must send USCIS a personal statement that describes how you were victimized.1 The personal statement is very important. It is the only opportunity you have to tell your story and for USCIS to hear your “voice.” An attorney or a crime victim advocate can help you organize your story but it should be in your own words. You should also use your statement to explain how you meet the other requirements, especially if you don’t have a lot of other documents to support your case.
You will want to send supporting evidence to show that you are eligible for a U visa.2 If you are seeing a mental health therapist or counselor, a statement from that person could be supporting evidence. The therapist can describe the facts of the crime as you told them to him/her and how the crime affected you, which may be very helpful to show the “substantial harm” requirement. If it would re-traumatize you to explain the details of what you experienced and its effect in your personal statement, the counselor could do that for you as long as the counselor can describe everything in detail for you, based on what you told him/her. The goal of this law is to help crime victims, not re-traumatize them.
Other supporting evidence includes anything from medical, legal, or social service systems that supports your own story and helps to prove that you meet the requirements. USCIS likes evidence from other “systems” because people work in those systems are considered “experts.” USCIS will, however, look at evidence from other sources too, especially if you and your lawyer explain: (1) why you couldn’t get “systems” evidence; and (2) why this source of the supporting (corroborating) evidence is believable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable.
1 8 CFR § 214.14(c)(2)(iii)
2 8 CFR § 214.14(c)(2)(ii)