One of the key aspects of applying for a U-visa is your willingness to help law enforcement in their investigation of a crime. There are other requirements, but this is perhaps the most fundamental.
As you may already know, the United States has several levels of law enforcement agencies ranging from local and state to nationwide. Considering the application process for a U-visa, it is worth knowing whether you can still apply if you move to a different state than where the crime occurred.
Helping Law Enforcement
As we discuss in a separate post, there are plenty of ways you can help law enforcement as part of its criminal investigation. It can be as straightforward as initially calling the police or providing a witness statement to help identify the criminal.
Depending on the severity and nature of the crime, the law enforcement agency investigating it will be local, state, or federal. If you are dealing with a federal agency, such as the FBI or DEA, it might seem irrelevant where in the country you live since they are federal. However, this is not always the case.
Moving Out of State and U-Visa Applications
Evidence of you helping law enforcement comes in the form of a Law Enforcement Certification, known as Form I-918B. It’s a supplement to your U-visa application and must be signed by the investigating agency.
However, you don’t need to live nearby for this to happen, or for you to even get the form signed in person. An attorney can arrange this for you, and it can be done remotely. The most important thing is that the police department or agency that is dealing with the crime signs it and fills out the form correctly.
Similarly, you do not need to live in the state where the crime occurred to provide your help. You must be aware, though, that you might need to travel for interviews, court dates, or other assistance, if necessary. While the law enforcement agency might offer reasonable adjustments, you can’t always expect it.
For example, if you have to give testimony in court, they may let you do so via video link. It can be a preferable option if you want to keep your identity secret but, again, you can’t always guarantee you’ll be offered the chance.