This week, I received my first U-1 visa approval. The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. See USCIS Q&A.
The whole process has been a tremendous experience, both for my clients and for me. My client and her mother originally came in to see me 8 days before my client turned twenty-one. My client is a developmentally disabled young woman and her mother is her primary care taker. They were a packaged deal. I soon realized that I had an emergency filing on my hands. The parent could qualify for U-4 status, but only if the petition is filed before the U-1 turns 21. When I realized how long it takes to obtain the required Supplement B signed by a certifying official, I nearly threw in the towel. However, I got lucky. My client had previously consulted with a lawyer and had an out of date Supp B signed. We had the certifying official re-sign. USCIS then received the petition ONE DAY before my client turned 21! AILA Member Silvia Martinez was an invaluable resource for me.
This type of result is what makes me proud to be an immigration lawyer. It is a happy occasion. Here we had a family with no immigration hopes, with a developmentally disabled family member who later becomes the victim of a horrible crime. With the U-1 approval, things are turning around for them. They are now on their way to leading the American Dream. I have noticed that at the AILA Annual Conference, AILA will have a program on U and T visas. I am looking forward to attending it.