How do I show that I was helpful to law enforcement?
Since Congress created the U visa to help law enforcement as well as crime victims, you must prove that you were helpful to law enforcement or that you are willing to be helpful if needed. However, if the crime victim is under 16, a parent, guardian, or another person who can legally represent the victim (a “next friend”) can be helpful to law enforcement on the minor’s behalf.1 If you are under 16 and neither you nor anyone acting on your behalf has been or is willing to be helpful to law enforcement, then you will not be eligible for a U visa.
The main way to prove helpfulness to law enforcement is through a law enforcement certification, known as Form I-918, Supplement B, that must be signed by law enforcement and included with your U visa application.
Your lawyer or advocate will need to approach law enforcement to ask them to fill out the certification. In addition to explaining that you are the victim of a U visa-qualifying crime, law enforcement should use the form to explain how you are helpful, were helpful, or are willing to be helpful in investigating or prosecuting the crime committed against you.2
It’s important to understand that the law does not require law enforcement to sign certifications and so if you stop being helpful, or refuse to do something law enforcement asks you to do, they may refuse to fill out the certification. Without a law enforcement certification completed, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will deny your case. It’s very important that you work with your victim advocate and your lawyer when talking to law enforcement. They can help make sure you are being helpful to law enforcement while still making decisions that keep you safe.
Remember, you should also explain in detail in your personal statement how you were helpful to law enforcement. If you worked with a crime victim advocate, s/he can also write a corroborating declaration to talk about your helpfulness.
For more information on who can sign a law enforcement certification, see Which government officials and agencies may be able to provide the law enforcement certification that is required?
Note: Here you can see our series of vlogs (videos) in Spanish, with English subtitles, where we discuss the certification and how to get one, among other relevant topics.
1 INA § 101(a)(15)(U)(i)(II) & (III)
2 INA § 214(p)(1)