On September 6, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had approved the statutory maximum 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status (U visas) for fiscal year 2013. This marks the fourth straight year that USCIS has reached the statutory maximum since it began issuing U visas in 2008.
Each year, 10,000 U visas are available for victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes. A U-visa petition requires certification of assistance from law enforcement.
The U-visa program was created by Congress to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while also offering protection to victims. More than 76,000 victims and their family members have received U visas since the program was implemented.
USCIS will continue to accept U-visa petitions and process them in the order in which they are received. USCIS will resume issuing U visas on October 1, 2013, the first day of fiscal year 2014, when U visas will be available again.