US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this month that, as of the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, it had 108,623 U visa applications pending. This number indicates that USCIS currently has more U visas pending than it did in all of fiscal year 2015. The governing regulations dictate that USCIS may only issue 10,000 U visas in each fiscal year. Based on these numbers, we can expect someone who applies for a U visa today to be waiting approximately 5-6 years to receive a U visa.
While this is devastating news in many cases, the silver lining is that U visa applicants are eligible to receive a grant of “deferred action” while waiting for the government to issue the actual visa. Deferred action in this context means that the government will issue a pre-approval notice to U visa applicants – typically 1.5-2 years after the applicant initially applies. The pre-approval letter confers deferred action on the applicant, which, in turn, allows him or her to apply for a work authorization document. The work authorization is then renewable in one-year increments while the applicant waits for the U visa approval.
If you have a U visa pending and have questions about the current backlog, please contact the attorney handling your case. If you are a new client, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you and answer your questions about the U visa.
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Joseph & Hall P.C. is a full-service immigration law firm. We pride ourselves on being nationwide experts in all areas of immigration law, including the practice areas listed below. Our attorneys frequently are asked to speak both locally and nationally on a wide variety of immigration topics. For an overview of each practice area, please click the links below. If you have any questions about how these practice areas may apply to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.
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