The guidance applies both to direct victims applying for a U visa, a type of nonimmigrant visa for crime victims, as well as their qualifying family members. Here are the highlights:
- USCIS will perform an initial review and issue work permits and deferred action for 4 years for nonimmigrant status and qualifying family members if USCIS determines the petition is bona fide, or genuine and made without intention to deceive, rather than making victims wait for a complete adjudication;
- If USCIS determines that a petition is bona fide, it will asses whether the petitioner poses a risk to national security or public safety, and, finally, whether the petitioner should receive a work permit and deferred action;
- If a petitioner does not pass this bona fide test after initial review, their application will proceed to the waiting list for full adjudication. If their petition is then approved, they will be placed on the waiting list for a U visa. Once a petitioner is placed on the waiting list, they and their qualifying family members will receive deferred action. If they have properly filed for a work permit, they will receive one valid for four years;
- If a petitioner's application is found to be bona fide on initial review, they will not be placed on the waiting list. Instead, their petition will be reviewed for a final adjudication for a U visa when space is available under the statutory cap;
- Throughout the initial four year validity period for a work permit and deferred action, USCIS will review background checks regularly to determine whether a petitioner and their qualifying family members can keep their work permits and grant of deferred action. USCIS may update background and security checks at any time when warranted by case-specific circumstances;
- All petitions will be reviewed in receipt date order for final adjudication of U visa nonimmigrant status.
- When considering a relationship between a petitioner and their qualifying family members based on marriage, USCIS will evaluate whether the relationship existed when the petition was granted, rather than when the petition was filed.