U Visa Bona Fide Determination

U Visa Bona Fide Determination

Are you looking to immigrate to the United States and have you been a victim of a crime? If so, we may be able to help. Crime victims who want to immigrate to America may be eligible for “U nonimmigrant visa status.” At the Rijal Law Firm, we’ve helped many clients with a successful u visa bona fide determination. Indeed, we’ve helped clients from all over, as our attorneys speak Hindi, Nepali, and Gujarati. Now, we can put that experience to work for you. If you need help or just want more information, contact us today

What is the U Visa Bona Fide Determination?

This visa was created by Congress in the year 2000 for crime victims, to encourage them to come work with law enforcement to identify perpetrators. Undocumented immigrants may feel hesitant to work with law enforcement out of fear that they could be deported, so this is designed to assuage those concerns as well as offer the ability to work legally in the US and even potentially help them towards eventual citizenship. 


To further help, USCIS announced on June 14th, 2021, a new “bona fide determination” process. With this, particular U petitioners as well as their family members whose U petitions are pending can receive both four-year work authorization as well as deferred action. This is all while they wait for full adjudication. We’ve helped many along this path and may be able to do the same for you. 

What is a U Visa?

The truth is that, unfortunately, many undocumented immigrants could potentially be vulnerable to many crimes. If undocumented immigrants are afraid that law enforcement will deport them should they come forward, they’re unlikely to do so. Thus, the U visa was created to help both undocumented immigrants as well as law enforcement. This visa covers domestic violence, sexual assault, felony assault, as well as stalking, and many other crimes. However, it does not cover every crime. 


Should a petitioner be granted a U visa, they will receive EAD (Employment Authorization Documents). Then, once three years have passed, they could potentially be eligible to apply for a green card. Five years after that, should they have met all other citizenship requirements, they could become a naturalized citizen. 

Who Qualifies for a U Visa?

To qualify, you must be what’s considered a victim of a “qualifying criminal activity” or an indirect or bystander victim. (For example: someone who witnesses a murder, a murder victim’s surviving family member, etc.) Additionally, could include being a victim of trafficking, kidnapping, abduction, sexual exploitation, rape, torture, and other crimes. These crimes must have occurred in the United States. 


You must have suffered physical or mental abuse in the course of the criminal activity. Remember: you must also have information about the criminal activity that law enforcement considers useful. Alternatively, or (or a family member, friend, etc.) are or will be considered “helpful” to law enforcement.


Lastly, you must be admissible to the United States. If you are not considered “admissible,” there are steps that can be taken (such as applying for a “waiver of inadmissibility.”) We understand how complex this can seem, and we are more than glad to walk you through every step of the process. 

U Visa Bona Fide Determination

How to Determine a U Visa is Bona Fide

The determination for whether or not a U visa is bona fide is made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The very first thing they’ll look for is whether or not the U visa applicant filled out the application completely. That means the applicant will have completed and signed Form I-918 (the U visa application) as well as Form I-918, Supplement B. Additionally, the latter should be filed within six months of the certifier’s signature. 


Then, the DHS will conduct a criminal background and security check on the U visa applicant. They will do this by running the U visa applicant’s biometric data. The goal is to determine whether or not the applicant is a risk to public safety, national security, or presents negative discretionary factors. “Risks to Public Safety” could include those who have been arrested for or even charged with crimes such as drug trafficking, assault, crimes that are sexual in nature, and others. 

The Benefits of U Visa Bona Fide Determination

Should your application be “bona fide,” then you’ll be protected from deportation (this is also known as “deferred action.”) Furthermore, you’ll be eligible for work authorization (referred to as an “EAD”) for four years. Moreover, you can renew that as necessary, so that you can continue working. If the U visa application was included with your EAD, that EAD will be issued by the DHS and will be valid for our years. 


If you didn’t file the EAD application, then you’ll still be allowed to apply for an EAD (as DHS will issue a notice of “bona fide determination.”) The good news: the initial EAD will not require a fee, although renewal will. We’ve helped many through this process and can do the same for you as well as your family, friends, and others. 

Processing Time

There is no set time for how long a bona fide determination will be processed. The DHS has indicated that they are working through the bona fide determination backlog, starting with the applications that have been in the queue the longest. As that number of cases pending is more than 170,000, we do believe that the processing time for these cases will not be quick. That said, the process does work. Bona fide determination is a viable immigration path. 


While the process can be lengthy, it can also be effective. We strongly encourage potential candidates to book an appointment to clarify any doubts, concerns, and the like. Rijal Law Firm is committed to expediting the process as much as possible on behalf of our clients.

Contact our U Visa Lawyers in Dallas, TX!

Here at Rijal Law Firm, we can help you and yours throughout the entire U visa bona fide determination process. That said, our U visa lawyers can also help if you are on the U visa waiting list, if the DHS has decided not to make a bona fide determination in your case, and in many other scenarios. Whether you want a U visa, student visa, work visa, or green card, we can help. For a free consultation, you can reach us through our site or call (855) 997-4525.

Skip to content