PROCEDURES FOR T AND U VISA NONIMMIGRANT STATUS APPLICATIONS
Immigrants who are victims of certain crimes may be eligible to obtain legal residency status in the United States by application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These visas, referred to as a “T-Visa” or “U-Visa,” allow the recipient, as well as certain family members, to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) deferred action of removal, parole status and the ability to remain in the United States for a period of up to four years to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of criminal activity. In certain circumstances, a visa may be renewed or may serve as a basis for an application for permanent legal residency status after three years.
Prior to applying to USCIS for either visa, certain documentation must be submitted to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The documentation will facilitate the federal application process. As such, the purpose of this notification is to advise prospective applicants of the procedure utilized by Monmouth County for the processing of “T” and “U” Visa applications.
The following should be considered prior to submitting an application for a T-Visa:
An individual may be eligible for issuance of a T-Visa if he or she:
- Is, or has been, a victim of human trafficking; and
- Has complied with requests for assistance in an investigation or prosecution of such activity.
An applicant for a T-Visa must prove to USCIS that he or she has satisfied the eligibility requirements as set forth above. In order to do so, the individual may obtain a signed statement, known as a “declaration,” from the law-enforcement agency investigating or prosecuting the case. The declaration, titled “Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim in Trafficking of Persons” (USCIS Form I-914B, www.uscis.gov/i-914), is not required. However, a signed declaration is considered compelling evidence of a victim’s cooperation.
In Monmouth County, the Monmouth County Prosecutor or his designee is the only individual authorized to sign a declaration for a T-Visa.
The following should be considered prior to submitting an application for a U-Visa:
An individual may be eligible for a U-Visa if he or she:
- Is the direct or indirect victim that suffered substantial physical or mental abuse of a qualifying criminal activity; and
- Has been helpful, or is likely to be helpful, to law enforcement or other officials in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of criminal activity. The victim must also possess reliable and credible information about the qualifying criminal activity. For a list of qualifying crimes, refer to the “U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide,” accessible online at https://www.dhs.gov/publication/u-visa-law-enforcement-certification-resource-guide.
An applicant for a U-Visa must prove to USCIS that he or she has satisfied the eligibility requirements as set forth above. To do so, the individual must obtain a signed statement, known as a “certification,” from the law-enforcement agency investigating or prosecuting the case. The certification, titled “Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification” (USCIS Form I-918, www.uscis.gov/i-918), is required. The USCIS will not consider an application for a U-Visa without the certification.
In Monmouth County, the Monmouth County Prosecutor or his designee is the only individual authorized to sign the certification.
Application Process for T- and U-Visas
Obtaining a Declaration or Certification
Individuals who satisfy the eligibility requirements set forth above may submit a completed Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim in Trafficking of Persons Form (T-Visa), or Supplement B, Nonimmigrant Status Certification Form (U-Visa), to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration. Upon receipt, the application will be reviewed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor or his designee.
In reviewing the documentation, the initial investigating agency will be consulted, as will any Prosecutor’s Office personnel who are familiar with the investigation. If a declaration or certification is warranted, in accordance with the review of the application, the Prosecutor or his designee will sign it. That decision is within the sole discretion of the Prosecutor or his designee.
A decision shall be rendered within 60 days from the date of submission of the application to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Notification of the decision will be provided to the applicant, as well as the applicant’s counsel, if any. If approved, the original declaration or certification will be provided to counsel, and if no counsel exists, to the applicant. The original form shall be returned in a signed and sealed envelope along with a courtesy copy. Another copy of the documents will be maintained by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Time for Application
An application for a T- or U-Visa may be submitted at any time during the pendency of, or subsequent to, the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. There are no time limitations in which to file an application.
The immigration status of an individual requesting a “T” or “U” Visa shall not be disclosed by the Prosecutor or his designee to any federal or state agency without written authorization of the applicant, or as required by law.
Issuance of a T- or U-Visa
A signed declaration or certification by the Prosecutor or his designee does not grant legal status to the applicant. USCIS is the sole agency that has the authority to issue a “T” or “U” Visa.
Please note that a law enforcement agency is under no legal obligation to complete a declaration or certification. Signing is at the discretion of each law enforcement agency.
Certifications can also be withdrawn by law enforcement at any time if a victim becomes uncooperative, committed fraud or misuse of the certification.
Individuals seeking information regarding visas are encouraged to review the “U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide” accessible online at https://www.dhs.gov/publication/u-visa-law-enforcement-certification-resource-guide.
Any questions concerning the application process may be directed to Viviana Basile at (732) 431-7160 ext. 2245 or VisaCert@mcponj.org.
Applications should be sent to the attention of First Assistant Prosecutor Julia Alonso at the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, 132 Jerseyville Avenue, Freehold, NJ, 07728 or electronically to VisaCert@mcponj.org.