Contributed by Bryon Large, Senior Attorney
On December 11, 2013, USCIS announced that they have reached the statutory maximum of 10,000 visas issued for U-1 non-immigrant status for fiscal year 2014. While we have yet to reach Christmas for the 2013 calendar year, the U.S. government’s fiscal year 2014 began on October 1, 2013 (remember the budget crisis?). On October 1, USCIS began approving U visa petitions for people that were approvable after reaching the visa cap in the previous 2013 fiscal year. Apparently, from those 2013 back-logged visa approvals and those approved during the previous two and a half months, they have already reached 10,000 visa non-immigrant status approvals in the current fiscal year. By law, USCIS cannot approve any additional visas.
The regulations allow for approvable petitions to be given a conditional approval notice and placed on a waiting list for U visa status. 8 C.F.R. § 214.14(d)(2). The regulations also allow for parole and/or deferred action, as well as employment authorization, to be granted to those people receiving a conditional approval notice. Id.
Given the volume of U visa status applications and the tremendous benefit they give to deserving victims of crimes, as well as the quite difficult state of current immigration law, it is not surprising that the 10,000 visa cap has been reached so early in the fiscal year.
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