U VISASThe Visa for Victims of Crimes
U non-immigrant visas are designated for non-citizens who are victims of particular serious and violent crimes. Applicants must prove that they were either a direct or indirect victim of the following crimes in order to be eligible: rape, incest, torture, perjury, trafficking, murder, prostitution, kidnapping, abduction, peonage, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, slave trade, held hostage, witness tampering,felonious assault, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, abusive sexual contact, female genital mutilation, unlawful criminal restraint, or obstruction of justice. A victim of any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses is also eligible for a U visa.
In order to qualify and apply, you must:
- Have suffered significant mental or physical abuse as a direct result of the criminal activity.
- Have information regarding the crime committed and be helpful or likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes.
- Have been a victim of particular criminal activity that violates U.S. criminal law. See list above. It is best to consult with a good immigration attorney to find out if the crime in your case qualifies, because many state laws have different definitions of these crimes.
If you meet these basic requirements and can obtain certification (on Form I-918, Supplement B) from law enforcement attesting to your cooperation with the prosecution or investigation of the crime, you and your dependents may qualify to submit an I-918, U visa application.
Once granted a U visa, you can be granted an Employment Authorization Document or EAD, also known as a work card, and authorization to stay in the United States. If you are in removal or deportation proceedings, the U visa will allow you to stay here.
Derivative U visa
If you are an applicant over the age of 21, your spouse and children under the age of 21 may apply for a derivative U visa. If you are under 21 years of age, your spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings under age 18 may apply for a derivative U visa. Spouses in this status may also receive a work card.
U Visa-Based Adjustment of Status
Once you have held U Visa status for the required period of time, currently 3 years, you and your dependents may apply for Permanent Resident Status so long as you otherwise qualify. If you leave the United States, you may be ineligible to apply later on for Adjustment of Status.
Filing for Your U Visa
Obtaining all of the necessary documents for a U visa is one of the biggest challenges in the application. The laws regarding U visa regulations are very complex and it will be best that you retain an experienced immigration attorney to help you with your case.
If you are interested in applying for the U visa or if you wish to discuss your eligibility for a U visa, give us a call today. We’ll determine the best strategy for your case and help you obtain the immigration status to legally live and work in the United States.