Requesting U Visa Certification
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:2)
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
In 2000, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act to encourage victims regardless of immigration status to report crimes and contribute to investigations and prosecutions and to support law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against immigrant victims. The law authorized U nonimmigrant status (“U visa”), which can be sought by immigrant victims of certain crimes who previously assisted, are currently assisting, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. The U visa is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and once granted it provides these victims with temporary nonimmigrant status so that they can remain in the United States while assisting law enforcement. To be eligible for a U visa, immigrant victims must satisfy several federal statutory requirements, which include a completed law enforcement certification (USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B). Under the law, local law enforcement agencies, such as the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), have the discretion to approve or deny a certification. The NYPD is committed to serving all communities in the City of New York, especially those vulnerable to victimization, and recognizes the value of completing certifications and supporting immigrant victims of crime who are helpful in investigations or prosecutions. However, USCIS has sole authority to grant immigration benefits, including the U visa. Therefore, an approved and completed certification by the NYPD does not guarantee a U visa or any legal immigration status. The NYPD is proposing the following rule to inform the public about the NYPD’s U visa certification process. The rule: • Directs the manner by which applicants may request U visa certifications, • Provides a timetable within which the NYPD will process such requests, and • Specifies the appeals process for denials of such requests. New material is underlined [Deleted material is in brackets.] “Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.