Victims of specific crimes who suffer mental or physical abuse and who assist authorities during the investigation and prosecution of the criminals qualify for a U visa non-immigrant status. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act, was passed by Congress in October 2000 as part of the creation of the U visa.
These laws bolstered the ability of law enforcement agencies to pursue domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other serious infringements of law, while providing for the protection of victims whose unwilling involvement in illegal actions subjected them to substantial mental or physical abuse. The laws require that victims assist law enforcement in pursuing investigation of or prosecution of the criminals. At the same time, these laws strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to serve the crime victims.
U Visa Eligibility and Requirements
U visa eligibility requirements include:
- Being a victim of specific criminal acts.
- Suffering serious physical or mental abuse resulting from victimization during criminal acts.
- Possessing information about the criminal actions and sharing this information with law enforcement officials. For children under 16 or for those whose disability prevents sharing information, a parent, guardian, or next of kin may do so for the victim.
- Helping law enforcement with the investigation of or the prosecution of crimes, either in the past, present, or future. For children under 16 or for those whose disability prevents sharing information, a parent, guardian, or next of kin may do so for the victim.
- Being a victim of criminal acts happening in the United States or breaking U.S. laws.
- Meeting requirements for admission to the United States. If not admissible, a waiver may be obtained on Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant.
What Crimes Qualify Victims for a U Visa?
U visa eligibility can results due a wide range of criminal activities. An immigration attorney is the person best qualified to discuss specifics due to the wide range of crimes included in U visa consideration and the complex nature of U visa cases. The following list of crimes is not limiting, for many crimes with significantly like elements may also qualify victims for U visas, as do the attempt to, conspiracy to, or solicitation of the following actions:
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Blackmail Domestic
- Violence Extortion
- False Imprisonment
- Felonious Assault
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Felonious Assault
- Being Held Hostage
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trade
- Witness Tampering
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Other Related Crimes
People suffering because of the above actions, or those who will assist in investigating such actions, are encouraged to contact us immediately either by phone or by online message to inform us of the situation. We recognize the severity of the situation and will help identify the options available.
Applying for a U Visa
U visa application demands a detailed application process with multiple steps. Since U visa laws are complex, an immigration attorney can provide support while navigating the process. The U visa application ois composed of the following elements:
Applicants Must be “Admissable”
The victim of the crimes must be “admissible” to the United States and eligible to apply for a U visa. In other words, the victim must not be prohibited from entering the United States because of prior criminal convictions, immigration violations, ill health, or other reasons.
Those found “inadmissible” may file Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant to waive the admissibility requirements. An immigration attorney can assist with the determination of the admissibility status of victims.
Documents Required for a U Visa
Documents required for the application process include:
- Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status
- Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification signed by the appropriate officer of the law enforcement agency. In this form, the official will verify the past or present helpfulness of the victim or her or his likeliness to be helpful in pursuing investigation and prosecution.
- Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, requests waiver of inadmissibility, if needed.
- A statement from the victim detailing the crimes creating victim status, and
- Proof of all eligibility requirements that can be found in the Forms section titled “Humanitarian Benefits Based Forms.”
Assistance from an attorney or other legal professional is valuable when gathering required evidence and for ensuring forms are completed accurately. Errors on applications can negatively affect a U visa case.
Filing for Family Members
Some family members may qualify for a derivative U visa due to their relationship to the victim whom originally requested a U visa. Derivative U visa applications may be submitted after the primary U visa applicant obtains approval.
- A primary U visa applicant under 21 years of age may request U visas for his or her family members, including spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18.
- A primary U visa applicant over 21 years of age may apply for her or his spouse and children to obtain U visas.
Do You Need Help In Getting Your Green Card Or Visa in Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you're trying to obtain a Green Card or Visa you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.