How can I demonstrate that I have suffered?
Because U Visa falls into what is called the humanitarian category, U Visa is granted on a discretionary basis, which means that it up to the immigration official to decide if you meet the requirements. And, the USCIS is the immigration official who has the power to make decision over all U Visa applications.
As a U Visa applicant, you are the one who must convince the USCIS to believe your story to successfully receive a U Visa. The USCIS also determines whether your evidence which you have submitted with your U Visa application is trustworthy. As such, when applying for U Visa, you must provide proofs that you have suffered as a victim of one of the eligible crimes. Additionally, you have to provide the USCIS when it asks you to provide. For example, the USCIS denied a U Visa application when applicants failed to submit their valid passports upon the request of the USCIS.
Regarding your evidence, the challenge is that U Visa law is not completely clear on what kind of evidence is enough. However, the good news is that U Visa law asks the USCIS to consider “any credible evidence” in making its decision. Thus, you may include any supporting evidence to show that you have suffered: news articles, police reports, letters from friends and family members, records from medical doctors or therapist or social services workers, photographs of injuries, letters from other witnesses of the crime, court documents, shelter reports, and so on.
Also, your personal statement, which is your writing about what has happened to you, is your opportunity to tell the USCIS your story and explain them why you should get a U Visa. In your statement, you must tell the USCIS very detailed story, for example, what kind of crime occurred; when the criminal activity occurred; who did it; any other events has happened before or after the criminal activity; how the criminal activity came to be investigated and prosecuted; what kind of abuse you suffered.
- 8 CFR 214.14: Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. (April 9, 2012). From https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt8.1.214&rgn=div5
- 8 §USCA 1101(a)(15): FindLaw. (January 01, 2018). From https://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-8-aliens-and-nationality/8-usc-sect-1101.html
- Immigrants’ Right Clinic, Getting a U-Visa: Immigration help for victims of crime, Stanford Law School (March 2012). From ttps://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/proseuvisamanual_english.pdf
- Immigrant Women Program Legal Momentum, Crossing The Threshold to Safety: Stories of Immigrant Crime Victims Who Will Benefit From Attaining U-Visas, (August 16, 2001). From http://library.niwap.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/CULT-Tool-StoriesBenefitUvisas.pdf
- Legislative History of VAWA, T and U-Visas, Battered Spouse Waiver, and VAWA Confidentiality. (June 17, 2015) From https://niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu/pubs/vawa_leg-history_final-6-17-15-sji
- Leslye E. Orrloff and Paige E. Feldman, National Survey on Types of Criminal Activities: Experienced by U-Visa Recipients, in Immigration Women Program, Legal Momentum (November 29, 2011). From https://niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu/pubs/u-visa-criminal-activities-survey
- Mondragon v. U.S., 839 F.Supp.2d 827 (2012). From https://1.next.westlaw.com/Document/I73452c516f9c11e18b1ac573b20fcfb7/View/FullText.html?originationContext=typeAhead&transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)
- Shukhrat v. Sec’y United States Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 634 Fed. Appx. 880 (3d Cir. 2015). From https://plus.lexis.com/search/?pdmfid=1530671&crid=0921b172-4bda-43f6-bf0f-578e5aa7bba2&pdsearchterms=Shukhrat+v.+Sec%E2%80%99y+United+States+Dep%E2%80%99t+of+Homeland+Sec&pdtypeofsearch=searchboxclick&pdsearchtype=SearchBox&pdstartin=&pdpsf=&pdqttype=and&pdquerytemplateid=&ecomp=34htk&earg=pdsf&prid=d643f3b4-178e-487f-a410-e5d4cd737f1c
- USCIS.gov/humanitarian: From https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian