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Biden Speeds Temporary Work Permits for U Visa Applicants

Biden Speeds Temporary Work Permits for U Visa Applicants

What Is a U Visa?

The current U visa program, which was created in 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, provides a path to citizenship for victims of qualifying crimes, including:

The U visa program was designed to help victims of crime come forward without fear of deportation by providing a four-year work permit and the ability to apply for a green card after three years. After an additional five years as a legal permanent resident, U visa holders are eligible to apply for citizenship.

However, the program has come under scrutiny because of long delays that impede vulnerable immigrants from cooperating with law enforcement. Congress only permits the government to issue 10,000 visas each year. The program currently has a backlog of 270,000 applications, in part due to Trump administration policies that rejected applicants for minor issues. The New York Times reports that the average wait time to even be placed on the waiting list for temporary work authorization was at least 5 years in 2021, up from 11 months in 2015. Many vulnerable immigrants are deported while they wait for their applications to be processed and approved.

A New and Expediated Process

Biden is seeking to alleviate the backlog of U visa applications by speeding up the process of issuing temporary work permits to U-visa applicants. This change would allow applicants the ability to remain safely in the U.S., effectively protecting them from deportation. In turn, this would enable immigrants to cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate and prosecute crimes.

Biden announced in June 2021 that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would implement a bona fide determination process. This new process will determine if the U visa application is complete and properly filed and that a criminal background check does not raise any national security, public safety, or other concerns. This process is intended to process initial reviews of U-visa applications quickly and efficiently while the immigrant awaits a final decision on their petition. Ultimately, this new process is intended to allow the U visa program to work as it was meant to all along.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

Biden’s new policy is a step in the right direction, but the road to citizenship is still a long and arduous one. It’s crucial that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you navigate this complex legal process. The U visa application has very specific and unique requirements, making it even more complex than most immigration visas.

At Musa-Obregon Law PC, we understand how overwhelming the visa process can be, and we are ready to provide you with the support you need to move forward with your U visa application. Our team of diverse lawyers takes pride in providing compassionate guidance and working toward the best result for you and your family. If you would like to apply for U visa immigration status, contact us online or call (888) 502-8461 today for a free consultation.


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