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I-918 Processing Time2024-01-10T13:21:31+00:00

I-918 Processing Time: What to Expect in 2024

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers U Nonimmigrant Status (U visa) to victims of crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. The processing time for the I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, varies depending on the case’s complexity, the current workload of USCIS, and the completeness of the application submitted.

As of June 20, 2023, USCIS reached the statutory cap for the fiscal year, which allows for 10,000 individuals to be issued U-1 nonimmigrant visas or granted U-1 status. This cap can impact the processing time for those applying for the U visa. Moreover, on June 14, 2021, This cap can impact the processing time for those applying for the U visa.

This cap can impact the processing time for those applying for the U visa. Moreover, on June 14, 2021, USCIS introduced a Bona Fide Determination (BFD) process which allows petitioners of the U visa to receive employment authorization while their petition is pending, potentially reducing the difficulties faced during the waiting period.

Understanding the processing times and the requirements involved in filing an I-918 petition is critical for applicants. They must be aware of the timelines, the possibility of backlogs, and the steps USCIS has implemented to manage the queue, such as the BFD process, which offers interim relief in the form of employment authorization documents (EAD) and deferred action. Applicants and their legal representatives must stay informed of the latest developments and processing times to effectively navigate through the U visa application process.

Understanding I-918

In the context of United States immigration, the I-918 petition stands as a critical pathway for certain noncitizen victims of crime to seek temporary legal status and work eligibility.

Purpose of I-918

The I-918 form, also known as the Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, serves a distinct purpose: it provides immigration relief for noncitizens who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of being victims of certain criminal activities. It is designed to offer a means for these individuals to stay in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities with the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Successful petitioners are permitted to live and work in the U.S. for up to four years, with the possibility of applying for permanent residency (a Green Card) after three years.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for U Nonimmigrant Status via Form I-918, applicants must satisfy specific criteria:

  • The individual must have been a victim of qualifying criminal activity and possess information concerning that crime.
  • The individual must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of these activities.
  • The individual must be helpful, have been helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • The criminal activity violated U.S. laws or occurred in the United States.

Additionally, applicants must provide a set of required evidence, which typically includes:

  • Form I-918 Supplement B, which is a law enforcement certification confirming the applicant’s helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, signed within six months prior to submission.
  • A personal statement detailing the facts of the victimization.

I-918 Application Process

The I-918 form is a critical component for noncitizens who are victims of certain crimes and wish to petition for U non-immigrant status. Accuracy and completeness of documentation, proper filing, and attending the biometrics appointment are essential steps in the application process.

Required Documentation

Applicants must compile a thorough package of documents to support their I-918 petition. This includes:

  • Proof of victimization: Documentation showing that the applicant is a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
  • Law enforcement certification: Form I-918, Supplement B, verified by a law enforcement agency.
  • Personal statement: A written account detailing the crime and the harm suffered.
  • Evidence of eligibility: This may include any applicable court documents, police reports, or other relevant materials.

Filing The I-918 Form

They must file the I-918 form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Important points to consider:

  • Ensure accuracy: Double-check the form for completeness and correctness.
  • Package submission: Submit the I-918 form along with all the required documentation.
  • Receipt notice: After filing, the USCIS will provide a receipt notice indicating the case is being processed.

Biometrics Appointment

Following submission, the applicant will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment where the following will occur:

  • Fingerprinting: This is to conduct a background check.
  • Photograph and Signature: These are taken to confirm the applicant’s identity.

Processing Times Overview

The processing time for Form I-918, the Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, can be extensive due to various influencing factors and the current trends observed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Factors Affecting Processing Times

Processing times for Form I-918 are influenced by multiple factors. Firstly, Form Category–the I-918 falls into the U Visa category, designed for victims of crime. Secondly, Field Office or Service Center Workload–the specific USCIS office handling the case can have varying workloads that impact processing speed. Lastly, Visa Availability–visas such as the U Visa have annual caps that can delay processing.

Current Trends

Recent data indicates that Processing Times for the U Visa (I-918) have elongated, with the USCIS indicating an approximate five-year wait before placement on a waitlist. As of the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2023, , USCIS plans to resume approving principal petitions filed on or before July 31, 2016, prioritizing older petitions. This reflects a significant backlog and illustrates the slow current pace of adjudication.

Checking Your Case Status

Applicants need to keep track of their Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, processing time and current case status to ensure they are informed of its progression.

Online Tools

USCIS provides an online case status tool where applicants can check the status of their I-918 petition conveniently. They will need their receipt number, which can be found on their receipt notice. The USCIS website’s Case Status Online allows for immediate updates regarding the status of an applicant’s case.

Contacting USCIS

If applicants require further assistance, they can contact USCIS directly. Contact methods include:

  • Phone: Applicants can call the USCIS Contact Center.
  • Email: For specific concerns or inquiries about cases, appropriate email addresses are provided by USCIS.
  • Appointment: In-person inquiries can be arranged through the InfoPass system for a one-on-one meeting at a local USCIS office.

Delays and Resolutions

When applying for U nonimmigrant status (U visa), applicants may encounter delays. Understanding common reasons for these delays and learning how to expedite a case is crucial for navigating the process effectively.

Common Reasons for Delays

There are several factors that can contribute to the processing delays of an I-918 petition. Key among these is the annual visa cap. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a statutory cap of 10,000 U visas per fiscal year, which often leads to a backlog. Another cause for delay can be incomplete applications or the need for additional evidence, which requires USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE), thus extending the processing time.

How to Expedite Your Case

To expedite an I-918 petition, an applicant should ensure all required documentation is included at the time of submission to avoid RFEs. The quality of evidence presented is also critical. Strong, well-organized evidence can facilitate a smoother review process. In exceptional circumstances, an applicant may request expedited processing by providing evidence of an emergency situation, severe financial loss, or other compelling reasons as defined by USCIS guidelines. It’s important to follow these guidelines strictly, as improper requests can lead to further delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors affect I-918 (U Visa) processing times?2023-12-28T10:30:21+00:00

Processing times can be influenced by several elements including application volume, staffing levels, and individual case complexities.

When can an applicant expect to receive their Green Card?2023-12-28T10:31:58+00:00

For the I-918, Green Card timelines vary and are influenced by the procedures following a U Visa approval. After U Visa approval and a period of continuous residence, one may be eligible for permanent residency.

What is the normal processing time for the I-918 form?2023-12-28T10:33:41+00:00

Processing times are not fixed and can change based on USCIS workload and specific form trends. It is recommended to check the latest processing time information provided by USCIS.

How can applicants inquire about their case status beyond normal processing times?
Applicants can check their case status online with USCIS or inquire through USCIS customer service tools if their case is outside normal processing times.

  • Can employment authorization be provided during the I-918 processing time?
    By discretion, USCIS may grant employment authorization during the processing period, particularly in cases involving Bona Fide Determination.

Additional Resources

Individuals seeking information on the processing times for U Nonimmigrant Status petitions can access the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. The website offers various tools and features that allow users to track their case status and obtain reliable updates:

  • Case Status Online: By entering their receipt number, applicants can check the current status of their I-918 form.
  • Processing Times Page: USCIS provides estimated processing times for specific forms and service centers. Users can select the form (I-918) from a dropdown menu and view the processing times for each service centre.

Inquiry Tools:

  • Inquire About a Case Outside Normal Processing Time: If an application is beyond the typical processing window, applicants may use this feature to request an update.
  • Check Your Case Status: Applicants can monitor the progression of their case by entering their case receipt number.
  • Update Your Mailing Address: Ensuring USCIS has the correct contact information is crucial for receiving timely updates.

Assistance for Applicants:

  • Ask USCIS: Users can ask non-case-specific questions that might assist in understanding the process better.
  • Emma: A virtual assistant available on the USCIS website to answer basic inquiries and direct users to appropriate resources.

Additionally, applicants may find assistance through community organizations, immigration advocacy groups, or legal representatives who specialize in immigration law. These resources can provide expert guidance and support throughout the application process.

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