Some People Who Were Victims of Crime in the U.S. Can Now Get Work Permits

Last updated on June 29, 2021

Good news: On June 14, 2021, the U.S. government made it easier to get a work permit for people who have been victims of crime in the United States. Specifically, people who have applied for a U-Visa can now get a work permit and protection from deportation while their U-Visa application is pending.

What is a U-Visa? 

A U-Visa is a type of immigration protection for people who have been victims of harmful crime in the United States. Read more about U-Visas in this guide. It can take many years for the U.S. government to make a final decision on a U-Visa application.

What are the requirements for a U-Visa work permit? 

Before approving this type of work permit, the immigration agency, USCIS, will check that you:

  • Submitted a complete U-Visa application form
  • Included a signed statement describing how you were the victim of a crime
  • Included a valid “certification” from the police or another law enforcement official saying that you helped them investigate or prosecute the crime
  • Went to your biometrics appointment
  • Are not considered a risk to “national security” or “public safety” by the U.S. government

Read more details here and here.

I already applied for a U-Visa. Do I need to apply separately for a work permit? 

Maybe!  You may need to submit a work permit application if you did not submit one with your U-visa application. But if you already submitted a work permit application, you do not need to submit a new one. We do not know how long it will take USCIS to make decisions and send out work permits.

I was a victim of crime in the United States and I have not yet applied for a U-Visa. Can I apply now and get a work permit? 

Yes! If you apply for a U-Visa in the future and meet the requirements explained above, you should be able to get a work permit.

To learn more about U-Visas and how to apply, read this guide and visit the USCIS website.

Note: There are also other types of work permits. For information on work permits based on asylum applications, visit this page.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice on a specific case. To search for legal help near you, visit our find help page!