U Visa Certification: Who May Sign The Certification Form
Author: New York Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova
NYC Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova helps immigrants to determine the right Immigration relief they may apply for. One of the possible grounds for a legal status in the US that is available for pretty much any non-citizen, is a U visa or status for victims of a crime. General requirements include showing that a person suffered serious harm due to a specified by the law or similar criminal activity; and that a person has been helpful to the law enforcement officials who have been investigating and prosecuting the offence.
In fact, one of the key factors and a necessary requirement that a U visa certification be issued to the applicant before he/she can submit his/her petition for a U visa. The U visa certification must be signed usually signed by a police officer, prosecutor or a judge. But there are other officials who can sign the U visa certification and, this articles will focus on those others, less ‘traditional’ officials. Some may learn this information for the first time, and hopefully, it may be of use to them.
In addition to a police officer or a prosecutor, the law provides that and EEOC (or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) representative, Department of Labor (DOL) representative and even Child Protective Services representatives may also sign the U visa certification.
For example, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD)may sign the U visa certification if they investigated a labor case involving such serious labor violations as involuntary servitude, peonage, trafficking, obstruction of justice, and witness tempering. In addition, WHD will be able to step up in cases involving extortion, fraud in foreign labor contracting, and forced labor. Consider a situation, where a X, a national of China, for example, was promised to have a work visa in the US, but instead was brought to the US to work in an underground factory, and now has to pay his/her master’s a never-ending or ridiculous debt for “helping” to enter the US.
But not only wage and hour violations’ victims may apply. Victims of severe discrimination involving criminal conduct who file complaints with appropriate agencies may also qualify for a U visa status. For example, New York City Commission on Human Rights accepts U visa and T visa certification requests. The same is true for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations of the State of California, and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
CPS or child protective services may issue s U visa certification: consider a situation where an abusive parent is being investigated by the CPS. Even if criminal charges will never be filed against the abuser, the undocumented other parent may qualify for a U visa certification.
Note that the certification is entirely discretionary, and if an official denied to issue it, a potential U visa applicant is out of luck: the certifying officer cannot be compelled to issue a U visa certification.
If granted, U visa status is given for 4 years. It can be extended, if a certifying official attests that U visa beneficiary’s presence is necessary in the US for investigating and prosecuting the crime, or DHS determines that there are exceptional circumstances.
If you need help with your Immigration case, please call our office 917 885 2261 to book a confidential consultation.
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