3 Things to Know About Obtaining a U-Visa

immigration attorneys bannerFor immigrants that have temporary status or are illegally in the country, fear of deportation is likely a significant concern.  There are many different types of visas for foreign citizens and the path to remaining in the United States will be different for everyone.  For immigrants that have been the victim of a crime, they may be eligible for the U-Visa.  Also, the qualifications are strict for U-Visas, not every victim of a crime can qualify but if you do obtain a U-Visa, you will be allowed to live and work in the United States and you may be eligible for some benefits depending on which state in which you live.  If you are unfamiliar with the U-Visa or are wondering if you qualify for it, below are 3 things you need to know about the U-Visa.

  1. Qualifications for the U-Visa is Strict

    • To qualify for a U-Visa, an applicant must not just be a victim of a crime, but be a victim of a specific type of crime and also be cooperating with law enforcement in some way. The American Bar provides this helpful information about qualifying factors:
      • Victimization includes the following elements:
        • the applicant has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
        • as a result of having been a victim
        • of one of the enumerated qualifying criminal activities
        • which (criminal activity) violated the laws of the US or occurred in the US.
      • Helpfulness is established by obtaining a completed Form I-918 Supplement B from a law enforcement official. Any of the following officials can certify helpfulness by completing the form:
        • a Federal, State, or local law enforcement
        • a prosecutor
        • a judge
        • Federal, State, or local authority investigating the criminal activity.
  1. The U-Visa is Temporary

    • The U-Visa will not grant you permanent residency in the United States, even with ongoing cooperation. So, if you are approved for a U-Visa, it is valid for 4 years.  However, after 3 years with a U-Visa, the individual will be eligible for a green card.
  2. The U-Visa Can Be Extended to Qualifying Family Members

    • If approved for a U-Visa, the protection can be extended to qualifying family members as “indirect victims.” These family members include spouses, children, or if the victim is under 21 years old, it can be extended to the victim’s parents.  But,if you are seeking U-Visa status for qualifying family members as “indirect victims” there will be additional paperwork/forms required.
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