I heard all U visa applicants can now get a work permit while they are waiting for immigration to process their cases. Is this true?

On June 14, 2021, the government announced that U visa applicants (including the primary and the family members included on the primary’s application) may be eligible for a work permit even though their cases have not been approved.

The policy applies to ALL pending cases, but it does NOT mean you will get a work permit.

Who is eligible?

USCIS may issue work permits to “bona fide” U visa applicants.

  • The application for U visa was properly completed and signed.
  • The law enforcement certification was properly completed and signed
  • The applicant includes a signed statement from the principal petitioner (usually a declaration describing suffering and the need for relief)
  • The U visa application was “made in good faith; without fraud or deceit.”
  • USCIS collected biometrics
  • The applicant is NOT a risk to national security and public safety.
  • The applicant deserves the discretionary benefit.

What happens if I am approved?

The “bona fide” U visa process will work like deferred action (“DACA”). This means the government agrees not to start deportation and allows the applicant to obtain a work permit valid for up to 4-years.

Immigration will check frequent background checks and will revoke the permits if the applicant gets in trouble with the law.

What do I need to do to get my permit?

We are not sure. It appears immigration will begin reviewing cases and issuing work permits. You can assume cases that immigration will prioritize reviewing applications that have been pending longer. If you just filed within the last two years, you should not expect a prompt decision.

This is great news! However, remember, the government just announced this policy and there are over 100,000 pending U visa applications.

Please be sure your lawyer has your most current contact information

Please be patient!

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