U Visa Work Permit

Understanding Work Permit for U-Visa Applicants

Navigating the U.S. immigration system is often a confusing and sometimes overwhelming process, especially if you are coming from dangerous circumstances. People who assist U.S. law enforcement and government officials with the investigation and prosecution of criminals may travel to the U.S. under a U-Visa. With an approved U-Visa, the victim and their immediate family members can temporarily reside in the United States for up to four years. After three years of continuous residency in the U.S., eligible U-Visa holders can then apply for a green card or permanent residency in the U.S. However, you may be wondering how can a U-Visa holder support themselves financially while living in the U.S.? In this blog article, we will cover what is U-Visa work permit, the typical U-Visa work permit waiting time, and how to get a work permit with your U-Visa is pending.


What is a U-Visa Work Permit? 

Under the current United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidance, any U-visa applicants are encouraged to submit two applications for Employment Authorization with any U-visa petition. The first application will give the U-visa petitioner work authorization for two years while they are under deferred action status. The second application then gives the petitioner work authorization for the duration of the U-visa once it becomes active. Please be aware that there is a fee when applying to get Employment Authorization, but a petitioner can also submit an I-192 form (Request for Fee Waiver) to ask that this fee not be applied to their application.


The U-Visa Work Permit Waiting Time 

There are two ways to get a U-Visa work permit and deferred action:

  • Through a bona fide determination
  • Through the waitlist


If the USCIS reviews your application and does not give you a U-Visa work permit through bona fide determinations, they will do a full review of your application. If they believe they are likely to approve your application, but they have already met their U-Visa work permit quota, they will then put you on a waitlist and give you deferred action for four years. USICS will also put your derivatives on the waitlist and give them deferred action and a work permit if USCIS thinks they are likely to approve your derivatives application(s) as well. Please be aware that it may take the USCIS several years to complete a bona fide determination or waitlist review of your case because of the volume of people who have applied for this type of visa. While you are waiting for the U-Visa work permit or waitlist, you will not have any legal status or protection from deportation.

At Dominguez Law Firm PLLC, we are dedicated to ensuring the immigration process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Whether you are trying to obtain lawful status in the United States for yourself or a family member or are facing deportation we have the knowledge and tools to help. Get in touch today if you’re interested in understanding more about your, or a loved one’s, immigration options.