U VISA AND WORK PERMITS UPDATES – EL SHOW SIN FRONTERAS
Thanks to all of our “Lincolncitos” who joined us today on our live broadcast of El Show Sin Fronteras. Today from Keilah Radio, with Immigration Legal Guardians: Karla Arevalo, Attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch and Fidel Campuzano. Remember that during our live broadcasts we will be taking your questions about immigration cases by calling 512-877-5995.
Immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch opened today’s broadcast by telling us about how she decided to pursue a career in immigration law. Her first clients at the Immigration Clinic were a family in a detention center: a couple who were there with their baby. Since then she has handled immigration cases related to Green Cards, Permanent Residency, Work Permits, Citizenship, Deportation, and given legal advice to people who have been victims of domestic violence or crimes such as kidnapping, rape, human trafficking, etc.
It is important to us at Lincoln-Goldfinch that your concerns are answered by a qualified professional. Do not rely on your neighbor’s, friend’s or acquaintance’s experience, as each case is unique. We understand the concerns of the immigrant community, as in many cases after being victimized in your home country, you often become a victim again in the United States. For that reason, we seek to share information regarding the laws and the options you have while in the United States to obtain immigration relief.
During our broadcast today, attorney Kate discussed the U visa. The U visa is for victims of crimes who have collaborated with the police or prosecutors in their investigations since in many occasions the immigrant community is afraid to report certain issues to the police. The U visa was a congressional measure to encourage the immigrant community to make such reports, feeling supported and safe, in addition to being their right as victims of such crimes, as Kate points out.
As for the U visa application requirements, there is a list of qualifying crimes that usually correspond to violent crimes and may include: domestic violence, assault, robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping, among others. The application process is a two-step process:
- Obtain a certification issued by either the Police, Prosecutors, or a Judge that the applicant was a victim of a crime and was also helpful in the investigation of the crime. It is not necessary that charges have been filed or that there is a conviction, the report is sufficient
- Apply for the U visa with Immigration. Among the benefits of this program, attorney Kate highlighted the possibility of including the victim’s family members (spouses, minor children, siblings, parents). It is an option for families in case any of its members have been victims of a qualifying crime. Another benefit of this program is that it can grant a pardon for illegal entry/departure, as well as certain criminal records/convictions.
Kate shared some good news about the U visa and Work Permits. The Biden administration announced that it will be possible to apply for the Work Permit right after filing a complete application for a U visa and getting the biometrics appointment. There will no longer be a wait of several years for the Work Permit alone, which was the case prior to this new legislation.
What if a person has a U Visa but does not have any active process for a Work Permit? Would this benefit apply to cases that are already open?
Karla Arevalo in her role as Intake Supervisor encounters hundreds of cases on a daily basis, and today she shared this question related to one of them. Attorney Kate explained to us that, in case it has not been filed along with the U Visa application, the Work Permit can be applied for by filing Form I-765.
One of our listeners asked: “Hello, good afternoon. I already went to put my fingerprints for the U visa, so is it just waiting for the Work Permit to arrive, or do you have to make a new application?”
Attorney Kate responded by indicating that our listener is in a very good position and will be able to apply for their Work Permit shortly. As Kate told us, this is very common, and what they should do is apply for the Work Permit separately. Although some people who submitted their U visa application have already paid a fee for the waiver, when submitting the Work Permit application with Form I-765 they will have to pay a fee of $410 for it.
The allocation of a U Visa is a long but sure path that will help entire families legalize their immigration status. It starts with a 4-year Work Permit, then Permanent Residency and, 5 years later, Citizenship. This type of visa allows for departures from the country. However, Kate recommends consulting with an attorney before doing so, since in most cases it is necessary to apply for a Re-entry Permit at the Consulate.
Remember that we are here to assist you with our legal services for immigration cases, employment cases and bankruptcy cases. You can contact us at 512-877-5995 or through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.