What Is a U Visa Certification, and How do I get U-Visa certified?
The U visa certification document is USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B. A law enforcement agency can complete this form for a victim who is petitioning USCIS for a U visa. This form is a required piece of evidence to confirm to USCIS that a qualifying crime has occurred and that you were helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
Although, as a U applicant, you are required to submit a Form I-918 Supplement B certification, it is not mandatory for law enforcement agencies to complete or sign the form on your behalf (unless otherwise instructed by state law). Sometimes agencies or individuals are resistant to certifying victim helpfulness due to a lack of understanding about the U nonimmigrant process, a lack of resources, or other reasons.
Agencies and Officials That Can Complete the Certification
Certifying agencies include those authorities who are responsible for the investigation, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the qualifying criminal activities.
Those can be:
Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies;
Federal, State, and Local prosecutors’ offices;
Federal, State and Local Judges;
Federal, State, and Local Family Protective Services;
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
Federal and State Departments of Labor;
Other investigative agencies.
Meaning of “Helpful” In the Investigation or Prosecution
Unfortunately, the law does not explicitly define what is meant by “helpful” to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of severe crimes. However, there are few guidelines provided by USCIS.
Helpfulness means that you, as a victim of the qualifying criminal activity, were assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution.
You may be considered helpful if you:
Have provided information about criminal activity to law enforcement, are currently assisting, or are prone to provide information in the future in the investigation and prosecution the criminals involved;
Have not unreasonably refused the request for cooperation.
This means that law enforcement can decide if you were “helpful” and whether they should fill out the certification. If there was an initiation of cooperation, and you have not refused or have not provided information and assistance reasonably requested by law enforcement, you will certainly qualify. Also, if you are guilty of the qualifying criminal activity, USCIS will not approve your petition.
Helpful Information and Assistance to Law Enforcement
There are numerous ways you can provide information that will assist in law enforcement. The more details about the criminal activity you can provide, the better chance you will have of convincing officials to complete a certification of helpfulness. You should be confident in demonstrating the will to bring the criminals to justice. Among others, here is the list that recommends the ways you can assist the law enforcement:
An identification of the criminals involved (names and addresses) or you’re participating in a lineup identification;
Descriptive details that will help the prosecution convince a jury that the accused is guilty of the crime, or invalidate the alibi of the other side, help to determine what penalty (or sentencing) should be requested.
Information that will support the apprehension of the criminal (hints to where they may be “hiding out,” the friends’ and family’s information who might know the location, or identifying details about their vehicle so the police can track it and locate it.
Evidence that will classify the criminal activity as more severe or lead to charging the criminals involved with other crimes.
The agreement that you are ready to testify as a witness if the case proceeds to trial.
Through this process, you may meet agencies that are happy to provide certifications of helpfulness, while some others may refuse it since the process is uncertain, and there are no strict rules and agencies that can assess your information provided self-wildly.
This is one of the reasons why you should consider whether you may seek help from a lawyer, specialized and experienced in immigration law to advise you on set and make communication with government officials more comfortable during the U-Visa application process.