Bona fide determination is the process by which U Non-Immigrant Visa Petitions are reviewed in a more efficient manner to determine “eligible victims of qualifying crimes with employment authorization and deferred action while they await a final adjudication of their petition for U nonimmigrant.”
The process of bona fide determination is decided by two key steps:
1. Principal Petitioners
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services determines bona fide status based on whether or not a U Petition is complete and properly filed within six months of the certifying signature and includes a personal statement detailing the victimization that occurred. The petitioner must also then pass the background check and other measures required by the USCIS.
2. Qualifying Family Members
Qualifying family members are not necessarily guaranteed a bona fide determination even if the principal petitioner is. The USCIS will begin to consider a qualifying family member’s petition as bona fide when the principal petitioner receives a bona fide determination, the petitioner has filed the proper form (Form I-918, Supplement A) and has included credible evidence of the qualifying familial relationship and pass the background and security checks required.
After bona fide determination is made, the USCIS then must determine whether or not the petitioner is a national security threat/risk. If determined to be not a risk, the petitioner is then granted deferred action.
According to the USCIS, instances when a petitioner may pose a risk to national security or public safety are:
Offenses involving firearms, explosives, or destructive devices
Offenses regarding slavery, trafficking, and/or involuntary servitude
Offenses related to child pornography or sexual exploitation of a child
Given these reasons for finding a petitioner or qualifying family member ineligible for bona fide determination, the “USCIS may determine on a case-by-case basis that other adverse factors weigh against a favorable exercise of discretion.”