U Visa for Victims of Crime
Under the provisions of VAWA – Violence Against Women Act, reauthorized by Congress in 2013, U nonimmigrant status is available for non-citizens who have been the victim of a crime, or a witness to a crime, by filing a U Visa application with USCIS. If U nonimmigrant status is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the foreign national applicant may obtain employment authorization and apply for a Green Card (Lawful Permanent Residence) and help certain family members obtain legal status in the U.S.
To be eligible for U Nonimmigrant Status victims of certain crimes must be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. U Nonimmigrant Status protects victims of crime and enables victims to assist law enforcement. If you have been a victim of crime and think you may be eligible for U Status, let us evaluate your case in complete confidence. We believe when results matter, experience counts.
“I would like to thank you for everything you have done for my family and myself. I will always appreciate the hard work you have done to get us to the point where we are now. Thank you so so much” DC
Schedule a consultation now with our immigration lawyers or continue reading for more information on eligibility for and obtaining U nonimmigrant status.
U Nonimmigrant Eligibility
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf.
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States.
Filing a U Visa Petition
To file a U Visa Petition, the individual must first obtain a certification from law enforcement, court officials, social services agents, department of labor, (or another appropriate agency that has jurisdiction over the investigation or prosecution), certifying that you have been help in the investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal offense. Once the signed certification is obtained, the individual must gather documentation to satisfy all the eligibility requirements and file a Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS.
Permanent Residence (Green Card)
Three years after your Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status has been approved you will be eligible to file an Application for Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card application) with USCIS. At the time of filing, you must have continuous physical presence in the United States for a period of 3 years from the date your U Nonimmigrant Status was approved. You also will be required to submit documentary evidence with the application that you have maintained at least 3 years of continuous physical presence in the United States.
For more information see the Immigration Options for Victims of Crimes Brochure
The USCIS office of the Vermont Service Center (VSC) will issue a notice of intent to revoke U visa status in cases involving fraud, error in approval, withdrawal of law enforcement certification, and divorce. Currently, VSC is holding in abeyance cases involving U-3 derivatives who marry.
A nonimmigrant visa holder who applies for U status and then travels abroad must apply for a U visa to return to the United States if the U visa status application is approved while the nonimmigrant is still abroad. If the nonimmigrant only receives a conditional approval, then s/he may return to the United States using the existing nonimmigrant status. You should not make plans to travel outside of the United States without first consulting an experienced immigration lawyer who is knowledgeable in the U visa process.
The immigration attorneys in the Raleigh law firm of Allen & Pinnix, P.A., are experienced in the U Visa process. We know you want to protect your family and keep your children safe. We know you want a better life. We can help.
Confidentiality is an important part of the U visa process. All matters discussed and all documents filed are kept in complete confidence. Schedule a confidential consultation here or by calling our office at 919.755.0505. If you contact our office by telephone, please leave a safe number so we may return your call.