Anyone undergoing the process of applying for a U Nonimmigrant Visa (or a U Visa) is sure to come across the law enforcement certification United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) I- 918 Form, Supplement B (or form I-918B). Form I-918B is the “U visa certification document that a law enforcement agency can complete for a victim who is petitioning USCIS for a U visa” (Homeland Security). Filling out form I-918B is a prominent part of the U Visa application process and as a result, it is important that it be filled out properly and in a confident manner.
Therefore, after careful consideration and research on common misconceptions, the top six things a person should know about Form I-918B before and/or during the time they are filling it out is 1) completing is discretionary, 2) signing means attesting to the facts, 3) who completes the form matters, 4) a victim has the ongoing responsibility to assist, 5) what is expected from background checks and criminal history and 6) one can withdraw their form at any time.
There is a common misconception that completing and signing Form I-918B is obligatory when applying for a U visa. To clarify the first matter listed above, it is important to note that, “there is no obligation under federal law to complete and sign Form I-918B when applying for a U visa” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Although signing Form I-918B may strengthen your certifying agency’s ability to “detect, investigate and prosecute serious crimes,” a signature is not mandatory to do so. Whether a person signs/completes a form is usually on a case-by-case basis consistent with U.S. laws and regulations as well as in the discretion of your certifying agency. If you do, however, choose to follow through with the form and sign it, as factor number two reads above, this does indeed mean that because you have chosen to sign the document you are attesting to the facts written within the document. In other words, by signing the certification, you are clearly stating that the individual applying for the U visa (or you yourself) is a victim of a qualifying crime. You are also attesting to the fact that you have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the qualifying crime. You are stating that you have complied or will comply with all reasonable requests to assist law enforcement; you have filled out the information on the form with complete accuracy to the best of your knowledge and that you have direct knowledge of the information listed.
Moving forward to matters of the third listed factor is: who completes the form matters. It is important that the certifying agency completes Form I-918B for the highest chances of approval. It should be noted that an individual is only to sign the form if you are A) the head of your agency, in a supervisory role or you have been designated “certifying official” by your agency, or B) you are a federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial judge. The fourth thing to know about Form I-918B listed above is that a victim has the ongoing responsibility to assist the certifying agency while in U nonimmigrant status and can suffer from a withdrawn or disavowedcertification from their agency if they fail to assist with reasonable requests. In terms guidelines with factor number five, background checks and criminal history, given common misconceptions, the USCIS does not render a victim with a criminal history as automatically ineligible to fill out Form I- 918B. The USCIS will consider any information you provide during its analysis of eligibility and admissibility during the review of your application. If you have a criminal history, it is most important that you list your experience(s) honestly and truthfully for the most accurate evaluation.
Lastly, it is always important that a person preparing an I-918B Form and applying for a U Visa has the ability to withdraw at any time after signing. This includes if information about the victim of the crime, the crime itself, or certification that your agency believes the USCIS should be aware of is uncovered during or throughout the process after signing. If you wish to withdraw the certification, one can email:
LawEnforcement_UTVAWA.VSC@uscis.dhs.gov to do so.
For access to Form I-918B for the U visa, more information, and/or further instructions on how
to fill out the form, visit the UCSIS website at www.uscis.gov.