Thesis

Exploring barriers to U visa certification for victims of domestic violence: A qualitative study investigating service providers' solutions to overcoming certification challenges

The U visa is currently one immigration policy that can assist undocumented victims of domestic violence obtain legal status to be in the United States. The purpose of the study was to explore the barriers that service providers face when attempting to obtain U visa certification on behalf of an undocumented domestic violence victim and the strategies used by service providers for successful certification. The study was a qualitative method and exploratory research effort that was guided by two major questions pertaining to the barriers that service providers face when attempting to obtain a U visa certification on behalf of their clients and the practices that service providers use for certification success. Additionally, a service provider’s perspective on the effectiveness of the U visa policy was explored. A total of five participants’ responses from in-depth interviews were analyzed in this study. The major findings of the barriers certification were categorized according to themes, policy interpretation, and erroneous policy practices, as well as victims’ challenges to certification. The major findings for solutions to certification were categorized according to the education of authorized signing agencies, collaborative relationships, and disciplinary expertise. The policy was seen by the participants as effective if appropriately and effectively implemented by certifiers. The findings of this study revealed a need to educate and establish collaborative relationships within certifiers for successful certification and knowledgeable service providers for effective U visa certifications.

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