Few reasons why you should not travel as a U visa applicant or on a U visa nonimmigrant status.
We are often asked by U visa applicants or U approved nonimmigrants who are presently in the United States about travel abroad during a pending application or after their U visa is approved before applying for adjustment of status is filed. We first do not recommend to travel because of the possible complications which may include the situation enumerated below:
- It is often the case that U visa applicants and U nonimmigrants usually have duty to cooperate with law enforcement or the entity which is working on their case. If they leave the United States, it may jeopardize their U nonimmigrant status because they might not be able to cooperate with the investigation or the on going prosecution of the case which is related to their U visa.
- If the U visa applicant has some sort of other valid visa such as a student F1 or H1 visa, they might not be allowed back until the case is completed and processed by the US consulate. Depending on the consulate, this process could take weeks or even months.
- Many U visa applicants have overstayed more than 180 or 365 days. This overstay in case of departure might trigger new bars to admission, such as the three and ten-year bars under INA section 212(1)(9)(B). Therefore, if a U nonimmigrant departs prior to adjusting status and such departure triggers a new bar to inadmissibility, he or she will have to submit a new I-192 waiver to USCIS and have it approved prior to re-entering the U.S. This might take long to be approved. Moreover, if the U visa non-immigrant remains outside of the United States for 90 days or more, he or she risks breaking the continuous physical presence necessary to be eligible to adjust status based on the U visa. Note that even the absence is not the fault of the U visa non-immigrant, the rule still applies.
Because of the few reasons stated above, we highly recommend any U visa applicant or U visa non-immigrant not to travel until they adjust status and obtain their permanent residence. Although there might be ways to bring the person back, the difficulties involved might not be worth the try. In case you are on a U visa and have not obtained your green card yet, we recommend you call us at (510) 742 5887, for a consultation before you decide to leave.