SJPD Star

U-Visa Information

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Overview

The City of San Jose and the San Jose Police Department have a strong interest in assuring that undocumented immigrants do not fear harassment, arrest or deportation when reporting crime, cooperating, or interacting with the San Jose Police Department.  The City of San Jose reaffirms the San Jose Police Department's longstanding policy that its officers will not arrest persons merely for their unlawful presence in the United States. No otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants should fear arrest or deportation for coming forward to report a crime as a victim or witness and no otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants should fear arrest or deportation by contacting any employee of the City of San Jose to express concerns or to ask questions.  We would like to encourage community members, especially those who are undocumented and in fear of deportation, to come forward to report crime and seek our assistance with the U-Visa program.

The U-Visa is a non-immigrant, temporary visa, which allows a victim who has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from certain crimes (specified in federal law), and who provides information that has, is, or will assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crimes, to remain in the United States for up to 4 years. An immigrant granted a U-Visa will subsequently be given legal status to live and work in the United States.

 


What is a U-Visa?

The U-Visa was created to provide temporary immigration benefits to undocumented immigrants who are victims of qualifying criminal activity, and to their qualifying family members, as appropriate.

The U-Visa is available to undocumented immigrants who have met each of the five criteria listed below:

  1. The person has been the victim of one or more qualifying crimes;
  2. The person has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of one or more qualifying crimes;
  3. The person has useful information concerning the crime which occurred;
  4. The person has helped, or is likely to help, in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  5. The crime committed violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States.

 


 What Are Qualifying Crimes?

The crimes listed in the table below are considered "qualifying crimes" with regard to the U-Visa program.  If you have been a victim of one or more of these crimes and cooperate with authorities, you may be eligible to apply for a U-Visa.

U-Visa Qualifying Crimes

  • Abduction
  • Abusive sexual contract
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic violence
  • Extortion
  • False imprisonment
  • Felonious assault
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Slave trade
  • Stalking
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Unlawful criminal restraint
  • Witness tampering
  • Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes

 


What is the Purpose of a U-Visa?

The law gives law enforcement agencies the ability to investigate and prosecute certain types of criminal cases, including domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while at the same time offering protection to victims of such crimes.

The law also helps law enforcement agencies provide assistance to immigrants who are victims of crime.

How to Apply for a U-Visa:

The U-Visa program normally begins with a request being received by San Jose Police Department, usually through the victim's advocate and/or attorney. The Department's role is to certify that:

  • The U-Visa applicant is the victim of a qualifying crime
  • The applicant is, has been, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity

 

U-Visa applications can be mailed to the San Jose Police Department located at:

San Jose Police Department
201. West Mission Street
San Jose, CA 95110

Attention: Court Liaison Unit /U-Visa

A self-addressed stamped envelope must accompany all applications.  Applications may also be dropped off in an envelope at the above location.

Please note:  If your case was forwarded to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and charges were filed, the U-Visa certification should be forwarded to the "U-Visa clerk" at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for processing.  The address is:

Santa Clara County District Attorneys Office
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Attention: U-Visa Clerk

 

Depending on the final disposition of the assessment of "helpfulness," the Department will issue a Law Enforcement Certification (USCIS Form I-918) or deny the request. It is then up to the U-Visa applicant to submit his/her U-Visa application, including the Certification of Assistance, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for processing.  The law enforcement agency does not submit the application. The U-Visa application may be filed by the applicant by mail at:

USCIS Vermont Service Center, 75 Lower Welden Street, St. Albans, VT 05479.

 


What is a law enforcement certification?

An immigrant who is the victim of one of the listed crimes must obtain a certification from a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, or a prosecutor, judge, or other authority, which is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of the crime. Other agencies such as Child Protective Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor can also issue a certification.

You may obtain a Law Enforcement Certification from the San Jose Police Department.  For more information fill out our Contact Form submitted directly to the Court Liaison Unit, or call 408-537-1296

A U-Visa applicant must have a previous police report documenting the qualifying crime or the application will not be processed.  A U-Visa applicant can document a qualifying crime by either contacting the police agency where the qualifying crime occurred or by filing a report with the San Jose Police Department, either in person, or online at: http://www.sjpd.org/ReportingCrime/

U-Visa applicants desiring to submit supporting material with the U-Visa application may only submit supporting material to the United States Citizenship Immigration Service (USCIS) after the U-Visa application has been processed by a law enforcement agency or other agency responsible for the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime.


Is there a form for the law enforcement certification?

Yes. The U Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918, Supplement B) is a USCIS form which must be completed and signed by the agency or authority responsible for the investigation or prosecution. The person completing and signing the I-918 must either be:

  • The head of the agency, or
  • A supervisor designated by the agency and authorized to issue a certification on behalf of the agency.

 


The following organizations provide assistance for individuals seeking U-Visas.

Center for Employment Training - Immigration & Citizenship Program.
701 Vine St, Suite 114
San Jose, Ca 95110
CET - Immigration and Citizenship Program
Bay Area Legal Aid
4 North 2nd Street, Suite 600
San Jose, CA 95113
(408-850-7066
Santa Clara County - Bay Area Legal Aid
Eastside Neighborhood Center
2150 Alum Rock Ave
San Jose, CA 95116
(408) 468-0100
(Eastside residents only)
Eastside Neighborhood Center - Catholic Charities Of Santa Clara County
US Government Immigration
& Naturalization Service

1887 Monterey Hwy
San Jose, Ca 95111
Catholic Charities
2625 Zanker Rd, Suite 201
San Jose, Ca 95134
(408) 944-0691
Immigration and Citizenship Services - Catholic Charities Of Santa Clara County

 

Other U-Visa FAQs

Are Family Members Eligible?

A family member of a U-Visa applicant cannot apply for a U-Visa on his or her own behalf. However, the U-Visa applicant can file a petition on behalf of family members:

  • If the U-Visa applicant is less than 21 years of age, the applicant can file for or her spouse, children, unmarried siblings under 18, and parents.
  • If the U-Visa applicant is 21 or older, he or she can file for his or her spouse and the applicant's children.

The applicant must file Form I-918, Supplement A, for qualifying family members.

 


Can Application Be Made From Outside the United States?

Yes. Immigrants, who are victims of a qualifying crime, and their family members, can apply for a U-Visa either from outside the United States, as long as the qualifying crime was committed either:

  • While the immigrant was in the United States, or
  • By a United States citizen.

The immigrant and family members will file for the U-Visa with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the immigrant's country.

 


Is there a limit on the number of U-Visas Immigration can approve?

Yes. Immigration may grant no more than 10,000 U-Visas in any fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). The limit does not apply to spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings who are accompanying or following to join the principal undocumented victim.

If the cap is reached in any fiscal year before all petitions are adjudicated, Immigration will create a waiting list.

Applicants placed on the waiting list will be given deferred action (they will be eligible to apply for employment authorization and permitted to travel) until their petitions can be adjudicated after the start of the following fiscal year.

 


How long can an immigrant have a U-Visa?

U-Visa status cannot exceed 4 years. After 3 years, an immigrant in U-Visa status can apply for permanent resident status (Green Card).

 


Can an immigrant granted U-Visa status eventually apply for permanent resident status (Green Card)?

Yes. The immigrant must have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least 3 years since the date of the issuance of the U-Visa. In addition, Immigration must determine that the immigrant's continued presence in the United States should be granted on humanitarian grounds in order to keep family unity, or is otherwise in the best interest of the public.

 


Is there a deadline for submitting a U-Visa petition?

There is no deadline for immigrants who are applying for U-Visa relief.

 


I am the victim of a crime with a deportation order issued by Immigration. Can I apply for a U-Visa?

Yes. You are still eligible to apply for a U-Visa even if you have a deportation order.
Once the U-Visa is approved, you will need to file a motion to reopen the deportation order with the Immigration Court. Alternatively, if you are about to be ordered deported, you must file a Stay to the deportation.

 


Are there filing fees?

No. There is no filing fee for applicants for the U-Visa or for qualifying family members.

 


Do I need to file an application now if I was granted interim U-Visa relief prior to 2008?

Yes. Immigrants granted interim U-Visa relief should have completed and filed Form I-918 prior to April 14, 2008. However, an immigrant granted interim relief does not have to file I-918 Supplement B (Certification from a Qualifying Agency).

 


More Information

For more information:
Call the San Jose Police Department - Court Liaison Unit at  (408) 277-5271


The City of San José is committed to open and honest government and strives to consistently meet the community's expectations by
providing excellent service, in a positive and timely manner, and in the full view of the public. Read more about the City Code of Ethics.