On December 11, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has approved the statutory maximum of 10,000 U visas for Fiscal Year 2014. This marks the fifth straight year that USCIS has reached the statutory maximum since it began issuing U visas in 2008.
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. 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.
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, 2014, the first day of fiscal year 2015, when U visas will be available again. USCIS will send a letter to eligible petitioners who, due solely to the cap, are not granted U visas, notifying them that they are on a waiting list and what options they have in the interim.