The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (VTVPA) of 2000 was enacted to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute serious crimes and trafficking in persons, while offering protections to victims of such crimes without the immediate risk of being removed from the country. Congress, in the VTVPA, created the U nonimmigrant status program (U Visa) to protect the victims of serious crimes, and created the T nonimmigrant status program (T Visa) to protect the victims of human trafficking. These programs were created out of recognition that victims without legal status may otherwise be reluctant to help in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery, in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life. Immigrants, especially women and children, can be particularly vulnerable to criminal activity like human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other crimes due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to: language barriers, separation from family and friends, lack of understanding of U.S. laws, fear of deportation, and cultural differences. Accordingly, under this law, Congress sought not only to prosecute perpetrators of crimes committed against immigrants, but to also strengthen relations between law enforcement and immigrant communities.
To qualify for this benefit, the victim must submit a Petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. One step in the Petition process requires the victim of a serious crime to obtain a certification via a form entitled "I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification" (Form I-918B), from either the investigating or prosecuting agency certifying that a qualifying crime has occurred and that the victim was helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. Although not required, victims of human trafficking may obtain a similar certification via a form entitled "I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons" (Form I-914B) when applying for a T Visa.
By signing a U Visa or T Visa certification, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office is not sponsoring or endorsing the victim for a U visa or T Visa, and the completed certification does not guarantee that USCIS will approve the U visa or T Visa Petition.
When submitting a request for certification to the District Attorney's Office, the victim and/or his or her representative should provide as much information as possible about the criminal activity, including:
- Victim's name and d.o.b.;
- Name and d.o.b. of perpetrator of the criminal activity;
- Date of the criminal activity;
- Description of the criminal activity;
- Description of any injury to the victim;
- Date that the criminal activity was reported to a Law Enforcement Agency;
- Investigating Agency and case number of the reported criminal activity;
- Copies of law enforcement reports documenting the criminal activity; and
- Whether or not a prior request for a Form I-918B or a Form I-914B certification has been made, the date of the prior request, and the agency submitted to.
- If the victim fails to provide the above-noted information, the D.A.'s Office will reject and return the request to the victim if the Office is unable to determine if any qualifying criminal activity occurred.
The D.A.'s Office is not responsible for conducting its own criminal investigation, or otherwise tracking down information from other Law Enforcement Agencies in order to substantiate the victim's claim of qualifying criminal activity.
To begin the U Visa and T Visa Certification process, please complete the U Visa and T Visa Certification Request and Application Form and email it along with any documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you may deliver the completed form and documentation to:
Fresno County District Attorney
2200 Tulare St.
Fresno, CA 93721