Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 9.1. Commonwealth Public Safety
Chapter 15. Certifications for Victims of Qualifying Criminal Activity
12/4/2021

§ 9.1-1501. Certifications for victims of qualifying criminal activity.

A. A certifying official shall (i) respond to requests for completion of certification forms received by the agency, as required by this section, and (ii) make information regarding the agency's procedures for certification requests publicly available for victims of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives.

B. Any person seeking completion of a certification form shall first submit a request for completion of the certification form to any certifying official for the certifying agency that detected, investigated, or prosecuted the criminal activity upon which the request is based.

C. A request for completion of a certification form under this section may be submitted by the victim of qualifying criminal activity or a representative of the person seeking the certification form. Such representative of the person may include an attorney, a licensed clinical social worker, a guardian ad litem, or an employee of a crime victim and witness assistance program or a domestic violence or sexual assault services provider.

D. Upon receiving a request for completion of a certification form, a certifying official shall provide a response to the request within 120 days. Within such time, the certifying official shall complete the certification except (i) if the person making the request for completion of the certification form is in federal immigration removal proceedings or detained, the certifying official shall complete and provide the certification form to the person no later than 21 business days after the request is received by the certifying agency; (ii) if the twenty-first birthdate of the applicant's children or the eighteenth birthdate of the applicant's sibling is within 120 days of the date of the request, the certifying official shall respond within 30 days; (iii) if the person's children, parents, or siblings under clause (ii) would become ineligible for benefits under 8 U.S.C. § 1184(p) and 1184(o) in less than 21 business days of receipt of the certification request, the certifying official shall complete and provide a certification form to the person within seven days; or (iv) a certifying official may extend the time period by which it must complete and provide the certification form to the person as required under this subsection upon written agreement with the person or person's representative. If the certifying official cannot determine whether the applicant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity or determines that the applicant does not qualify, the certifying official shall provide a written explanation to the person or the person's representative setting forth reasons why the available evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim of qualifying criminal activity.

Requests for expedited completion of a certification form under clause (i), (ii), or (iii) shall be affirmatively raised by the person or that person's representative in writing to the certifying agency and shall establish that the person is eligible for expedited review.

E. A certifying official who issued an initial certification form shall complete and reissue a certification form within 90 business days of receiving a request from a victim to reissue the certification form. If the victim seeking recertification has a deadline to respond to a request for evidence from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the certifying official shall complete and issue the form no later than 21 business days after the request is received by the certifying official. Requests for expedited recertification shall be affirmatively raised by the victim or victim's representative in writing and shall establish that the victim is eligible for expedited review. A certifying official may extend the deadline by which he will complete and reissue the certification form only upon written agreement with the victim or victim's representative.

F. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a certifying official's completion of a certification form shall not be considered sufficient evidence that an applicant for a U or T visa has met all eligibility requirements for that visa, and completion of a certification form by a certifying official shall not be construed to guarantee that the victim will receive federal immigration relief. It is the exclusive responsibility of federal immigration officials to determine whether a person is eligible for a U or T visa. Completion of a certification form by a certifying official merely verifies factual information relevant to the federal immigration benefit sought, including information relevant for federal immigration officials to determine eligibility for a U or T visa. By completing a certification form, the certifying official attests that the information is true and correct to the best of the certifying official's knowledge. No provision in this chapter limits the manner in which a certifying official or certifying agency may describe whether the person has cooperated or been helpful to the agency or provide any additional information the certifying official or certifying agency believes might be relevant to a federal immigration officer's adjudication of a U or T visa application. If, after completion of a certification form, the certifying official later determines that the person was not the victim of qualifying criminal activity or the victim unreasonably refuses to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity of which he is a victim, the certifying official may notify United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in writing.

G. A certifying official or agency receiving requests for completion of certification forms shall not disclose the immigration status of a victim or person requesting the certification form, except to comply with federal or state law or a legal process or if authorized by the victim or person requesting the certification form.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 468.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.