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Legal Information: Federal


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August 15, 2019

What is the law enforcement “certification”?

To complete your application for U visa status, your advocate or your attorney will have to get law enforcement or the proper certifying agency to fill out a U visa status certification. This certification is a form that states that you have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to the authorities investigating or prosecuting the criminal activity.1 From the moment you start to cooperate with the authorities, you will have to continue that cooperation without refusing or failing to provide information and assistance that has been requested in a reasonable way.2 The definition of a “reasonable request” depends on the circumstances of each case and on factors such as the age of the victim, the trauma s/he suffered and if the victim’s cooperation puts his/her security at risk. The certification also confirms that you are a victim of one of the U visa-eligible crimes and that you have provided useful information when requested.2 Law enforcement agencies are not required to sign the certification, and they can withdraw it at any time after signing. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security encourages law enforcement agencies to run background checks on U visa applicants before signing a certification.3 For more information on who can sign a certification, see Which government officials and agencies may be able to provide the law enforcement certification that is required?

If you are under 16 years old, your parent, guardian, or “next friend” who has information about the criminal activity can be the one that has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to the authorities investigating or prosecuting the criminal activity for purposes of the certification.4

Note: Here you can find a series of vlogs (videos) in Spanish, with English subtitles, where we discuss what is the certification and how do you get one, among other relevant topics.

1 INA § 101(a)(15)(U)(i)(III); 8 CFR § 214.14(c)(2)(i)
2 See the certification form, I-918 Supplement B
3 See the U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide issued by the Department of Homeland Security
4 INA §§ 101(a)(15)(U)(i)(II) & (III)