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Advocate for Change: Tell Congress to Raise the U-Visa Cap

US Visa ImageThe cap for U nonimmigrant visas has been reached—and this year it was reached in record speed. United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) is limited by statute to issue no more than 10,000 U-visas starting at the beginning of each fiscal year (October). This year, that cap was reached in just about two months, the quickest ever. USCIS has reached the visa cap each year since it first started issuing U-visas in 2008. It’s time to raise that cap!

U-visas are nonimmigrant visas for people who have “suffered substantial physical or mental abuse” from being the “victim of a qualifying criminal activity.” Applicants must have information about the crime and cooperate with law enforcement.

Currently, those found eligible for a U-visa are granted deferred action status and are permitted to apply for a work permit. However, their time in deferred action status does not count toward the three years of physical presence they must earn before applying for legal permanent residency.

Raising the statutory minimum on U-visas has been part of the immigration reform debate. But, we don’t need to wait until Congress addresses immigration reform to start advocating for an increase in the number available U-visas.

How can you help advocate for change? Contact your representative! Call or email your representatives now and ask them to be part of the solution.

The U-visa cap is too low and is causing a significant backload in cases. If the statutory cap is not raised, USCIS risks running out of U-visas for fiscal year 2015 before we reach October 2014. U-visa applicants can’t afford to wait years for their U-visa to be adjudicated.

Call your representatives today and tell them you support a raise in the statutory minimum of available U-visas.

Call Senator Wyden at (202) 224-5244 or send an email through

Call Senator Merkley at (202) 224-3753 or send an email through