1. Getting Supplement B Form
To qualify for a U-Visa, you have to show that you helped law enforcement. The document that will confirm your help is a government-issued form stating that you helped them. It is Form I-918 Supplement B.
If you contacted the police, you would ask the same department to sign this form for you. Firstly, you should ask for the name and contact information for the person who signs the Form I-918 Supplement B or address your letter to the Chief of Police. If against the person who hurt you, the police filed charges in court, the prosecutor might have gotten involved in the case. If the person who hurt you was ultimately convicted in court, you could also try asking the prosecutor to sign this form.
You fill out only Part 1 of this form and the police and/or prosecutor will fill out the rest.
When sending the form to the police department, you should enclose a cover letter, as well. This letter should include details and descriptions of the crime you suffered. It will help the police fill out the rest of the Form I-918.
After you sent the envelope containing the cover letter and the Supplement B form, you will wait to receive back the signed form from the police department or prosecutor, which sometimes can take several weeks or months. It is important to know that this form is only valid for six months.
Once you receive it, ask for a bond hearing. The signed Supp-B doesn’t mean you will certainly get a U-Visa, but it is a significant first step.
2. Filling out the main form
The main form is USCIS I-918 form and now it is time to complete it.
In Part 2, you have to tell the government that you meet all of the requirements for the U-Visa and answer all of the questions.
Part 3 asks you about things you have done in the past, which is necessary to determine whether you need a waiver. Remember, the government is altruistic in granting waivers, so keep it honest about the reasons why you need a waiver.
Don’t forget to sign the form because otherwise, it will be rejected and returned.
3. Filling out the form for a waiver- if you need one
If you need to ask for a waiver, you should fill out the Form I-192. There are many reasons why people are not allowed to stay in the United States. If you are not sure this requirement applies to you and that you need a waiver, it is beneficial to apply for it anyway.
Applying for a waiver costs $930 currently, but most people in detention will qualify to apply for free since they do not have any income. It is recommended you use the Form I-912 to ask the government to let you apply for free.
4. Writing a statement about what happened to you
With your U-Visa application, you must include a personal statement about what happened to you. Since there is no court hearing or interview, this is the opportunity to tell the government why you consider you should get a U-Visa and why you deserve forgiveness for any crimes or for any immigration violations.
Try to explain how you meet all the requirements: such as crime, helpfulness, harm, pain, etc. Your statement is acceptable only in English, so if you do not speak English, find someone to help you translate it. But, include your original statement because the government prefers getting written statements in your language, as well.
5. Obtaining Additional Documents to Support your Case
Although not mandatory, sending the extra documents may help your case. Here is what you can collect to strengthen your U-Visa application:
- A police report and court records showing that you were the victim of a crime and harmed, who was investigated, who was charged, whether they pleaded guilty or tried and found guilty, what the charges were, the case number, and similar.
- Letters from doctors and mental health professionals that will prove you suffered harm, emotional and/or physical injuries
- Letters from family, friends, community members, teachers, leaders, religious institutions, co-workers, and other people who saw or heard what happened to you and what effects the crime had on you mentally and/or physically. This is the right way of proving you suffered harm and that you have strong ties in the United States. These detailed letters can also help if you need a waiver. If letters are in a foreign language, they will have to be translated into English.
- Other evidence of the crime you were a victim of and your helpfulness to the government enforcement such as photos of your injuries, restraining or protection orders, records of 911 calls, newspaper articles describing the crime, etc.
- Other evidence of showing you are a good person and deserve to be forgiven for crimes and/or immigration violations such as evidence to show your community ties (volunteer work, awards received, work history, etc.), rehabilitation, copies of birth certificates of U.S. citizen children, letters from work supervisors, your child’s teachers, neighbors, and friends stating what a good person and/or parent you are, letters from friends and family in your home country describing the situation and that your life would be difficult in case you had to go back.
- A copy of your identity document, such as a passport, birth certificate, your drivers’ license, and your ID card: You should include a copy of the biographic page of your passport, but if you do not have it, state this in the cover letter specifically.
After you gather all of the materials, make sure you have them translated in English if some of those are in a foreign language, but send both original and translated versions to the government. If you went through the previous steps, then your application is ready to be sent. To finish your application you will have to write a cover letter that you will place at the front of your U-Visa application.
This cover letter will help the government understand why you are applying. Read through your application one last time to ensure everything is correct. Once your application is complete, mail it to the right address, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Vermont Service Center.