On June 14, 2021, USCIS updated its policy manual to allow eligible U visa petitioners (victims of crime in the United States) access to employment authorization sooner. Currently, U visa petitioners are waiting approximately five years before receiving a determination that allows them access to an employment authorization document and grant of deferred action.
Through this new process, USCIS will issue employment authorization and grant deferred action to petitioners in the United States with pending U visa petitions that it determines are bona fide (made in good faith and without intention of deceit or fraud) and who merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
To be considered bona fide, the petition must include a certification from law enforcement that the petitioner was a victim of a crime and that the victim has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of that crime.
USCIS will deem a petition bona fide if:
- The principal petitioner properly filed Form I-918, Form I-918B U Nonimmigrant Status Certification;
- The principal petitioner properly filed a personal statement from the petitioner describing the facts of the victimization; and
- The agency received the result of the principal petitioner’s biometrics.
This guidance is effective immediately and applies to all Form I-918 and Form I-918A petitions that are currently pending or filed on or after June 14, 2021.