Employment Authorization for U-visa Petitioners
This month was looking pretty uneventful in terms of immigration news, and then we got a major announcement.
USCIS issued an important policy update that provides new protections to U-visa applicants (both principal and derivative) with pending cases. Effective immediately, upon initial review of Form I-918 petitions, USCIS will issue Bona Fide Determination (BFD) and deferred action for 4 years while the petition is fully processed, and which can be renewed as-needed on 4 year intervals.
That means U-visa petitioners can obtain employment authorization sooner, and get on with rebuilding their lives instead of having to wait years for their U-visa to be fully issued. As a point of reference, before this important change, U-visa petitioners were waiting 5 or more years to be able to obtain employment authorization.
Key to getting the Bona Fide Determination is filing Form I-918 fully completed and with all necessary supplementary materials and affidavits. If you think you might be eligible to apply for a U-visa, or if your petition is currently pending, contact us to ensure that everything is filed correctly and you can get your new rights as soon as possible!