Undocumented victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse and are helpful to law enforcement are eligible to apply for U nonimmigrant status (U Visa). The U Visa allows eligible victims to live and work in the United States for up to four years with the possibility of extension and obtaining permanent resident status.
To qualify, victims must obtain certification from a local, state or federal law enforcement agency documenting their helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Undocumented victims of a severe form of trafficking are eligible to apply for T nonimmigrant status (T visa). The T Visa allows eligible victims to live and work in the United States for up to four years with the possibility of extension and obtaining permanent resident status.
The U Visa is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and has the dual purpose of protecting noncitizen victims of serious crimes and promoting cooperation between law enforcement and victims by:
• Strengthening law enforcement’s ability to detect, investigate, and prosecute serious crimes, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking;
• Encouraging victims to report crimes committed against them and participate in the investigation and prosecution of those crimes, even if victims lack lawful immigration status;
• Bolstering relationships between law enforcement and noncitizens, which leads to safer communities as a whole; and
• Offering protections to victims of certain crimes by allowing them to temporarily remain and work in the US, generally for four years.
The U Visa provides lawful status for up to 4 years, employment authorization (work permit), and may provide lawful status to qualifying family members.
The U Visa certification (USCIS Form I-918 Supplement B) is a required piece of initial evidence that must be submitted with all the petition documents for a U Visa, and USCIS cannot process the victim’s case without it.
The U Visa certification states that the person was a victim of a qualifying crime, possessed information relating to the crime, and was helpful in the investigation or prosecution of that crime.
The T Visa has the dual purpose of stabilizing trafficking victims and promoting cooperation between law enforcement and trafficking victims. The T Visa encourages human trafficking victims to report their victimization to law enforcement and enables victims to participate in the detection, investigation or prosecution of the crimes committed against them, even if they lack lawful immigration status.
Once granted a T Visa, eligible victims of human trafficking may:
· Live and work in the U.S. for a period of 4 years;
· Access certain federal benefits and services;
· Apply for certain qualifying family members to receive T visas; and
· Apply for lawful permanent residency (also known as a Green Card) if eligible.
The T visa declaration is an optional form of evidence for applicants to demonstrate victimization and cooperation with law enforcement.
Current qualifying crimes identified by USCIS are:
Abusive Sexual Contact,
Female Genital Mutilation,
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting,
Obstruction of Justice,
Slave Trade Stalking,
Witness Tampering, and
Unlawful Criminal Restraint.
A minor can apply for a certification. However, if the minor is unable to assist law enforcement because they are deceased due to murder/manslaughter or incompetent/incapacitated* due to injury, trauma or age, the minor’s parents can apply as an indirect victim. The parent must have assisted on the minor’s behalf and meet all other certification requirements.
*A minor is considered incapacitated due to age on a case by case basis but can include being unable to provide statements to law enforcement without assistance, needing their parent to transport them to the police station or court, etc.
If you qualify for a certification, certain family members can apply as a derivative by completing USCIS Form I-918 Supplement A. If you are under 21 years of age, your spouse, children, parent and unmarried siblings under age 18 can apply as derivatives. If you are 21 years of age of older, your spouse and children can apply as derivative. This I-918 Supplement A form does not require law enforcement certification.
A victim, their guardian or legal representative can submit a request.
Requests should be submitted at the investigating division in person, by United States Postal Service (USPS), private courier, or email. A list of the divisional email addresses can be found here.
If you have a question as to what division handled the investigation, you can email:
There is not a deadline for submitting requests.
There is no fee for submitting requests.
To help process the request in a timely manner, please include the following:
· Name of victim and any “other names used”
· Victim’s date of birth
· Government issued identification
· LAPD DR number or incident number, if known
· Name of suspect, if known
· Suspect’s date of birth, if known
· Indicate if you are in removal proceedings
•Driver’s License or identification
•Foreign passport or identification
•Debit card with picture or two financial cards without a picture
•Other picture identification
Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and elder abuse can obtain free copies of their reports at the investigative division.
All other victims must request a copy of the report through Records & Identification Division.
Certification does not require a police report, but a copy is strongly encouraged for timely processing, if one can be obtained. The Department must certify that a police report was made. Therefore, documentation must be provided to support this such as a business card given during the investigation, court paperwork referring the crime report, medical documents stating police conducted an investigation, etc.
The outcome of the investigation does not impact the decision. However, the victim must cooperate during the entire investigation (from preliminary police report, to detective follow-up, to court proceedings).
California Penal Code Section 679.10 requires requests to be processed in 30 days or 7 days if the applicant is in removal proceedings.
The day the U Visa Coordinator at the investigating division receives the request is day 1 of the timeframe. This means delays can be caused if the request is submitted to the wrong division. If you have a question as to what division handled the investigation, you can email UVisa@lapd.online.
Make a notification on your request if you are in removal or deportation proceedings, so the request can be processed in the 7-day timeframe.
It does not matter if you are outside the US. The Department will process your request upon receipt.
The certification/declaration can be mailed or held at the station for in person pick up. It is helpful if you identify the method preferred in your request. If you would like the documents to be mailed using overnight or other priority service, please provide a prepaid addressed envelope. If you want to pick up the documents, please make a notation in the request and provide current contact information.
The Department cannot control the receipt of documents once submitted to any delivery service.
A request can be denied if the case was not investigated by LAPD, you were not victim of a qualifying crime or you were not helpful/cooperative during the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Per California Penal Code 679.10, helpfulness is presumed if you have not refused to provide information reasonably requested by law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office. The helpfulness requirement pertains to the whole time of the investigation and prosecution. If your request is denied because of this, a detailed explanation will be provided.
All appeals are reviewed by the Department U Visa Coordinator. Appeal requests can be submitted via mail to 100 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, California 90012 or email at UVisa@lapd.online
Include in the appeal any documentation to support your reason for appeal.
Contact the U Visa Coordinator at the division that certified your request. A certification is only valid for six months after it was signed. The Department will re-sign and newly date a copy of the previous certification or complete a new certification.
To minimize the chance of expiration, try to have all other documents prepared for submittal to USCIS before requesting a certification.
To be eligible for lawful permanent residence, you must demonstrate that you did not unreasonably refuse to comply with requests for assistance in the investigation or prosecution since receiving a U Visa. While a new certification or similar documentation is not required, it can help you meet the evidentiary burden.
The Department will complete a new certification or re-sign and newly date a copy of the previous certification.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs provides a list of legitimate legal service providers. These are available at the top of our main U Visa webpage.