Throughout the years here at Alcock and Associates, our team has had the wonderful opportunity of being able to represent numerous people for U-Visas. We are happy to help you with this type of case, but it is very important that you understand the law and what you options are before you retain our services.

Unfortunately, just like any other immigration process, there are some people that do not qualify for this kind of relief. Meaning that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or “USCIS”, cannot legally grant a U-Visa in certain cases.

If you or a loved one are seeking help with a U-Visa case, our law firm would be more than happy to offer a free and informative consultation. We are here to meet with you, get to know understand your case, and walk you through the entire process. Below we have provided information that would be very useful to read prior to your meeting in order for you to be prepared for the questions we will ask.


To apply for a U-Visa, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime that occurred in the United States. There are only certain crimes that will allow someone to be granted a U-Visa. The applicant must be a victim of one of the following qualifying crimes to be eligible for a U-Visa:

  1. Abduction
  2. Abusive Sexual Contact
  3. Blackmail
  4. Domestic Violence
  5. Extortion
  6. False Imprisonment
  7. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  8. Felonious Assault (Aggravated Assault)
  9. Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
  10. Hostage
  11. Incest
  12. Involuntary Servitude
  13. Kidnapping
  14. Manslaughter
  15. Murder
  16. Obstruction of Justice (Including violation of an order of protection)
  17. Peonage
  18. Perjury
  19. Prostitution
  20. Rape
  21. Sexual Assault
  22. Sexual Exploitation
  23. Slave Trade
  24. Stalking
  25. Torture
  26. Trafficking (may also be eligible for a T-Visa)
  27. Witness Tampering
  28. Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  29. Other Related Crimes (includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are essentially the same, and also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes)

The individual who is applying for the U-Visa must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of one of the crimes listed above.

The individual must have information about the criminal activity. If he/she is under the age of 16 or if they are unable to provide information due to a disability, then a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on their behalf.

The individual has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to an agency in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime.

The qualifying crime occurred in the U.S. or in the territories or possession of the U.S., or violated a U.S. federal law that allows the offense to be prosecuted in a U.S. Federal Court.

The individual is admissible to the U.S. under current immigration laws. Those who are not admissible may apply for a waiver.

The individual may be required to appear for an interview or provide fingerprints before a final decision is made. If an appointment is necessary, USCIS will notify the applicant to set up an appointment. After three years of having the U-Visa, the holder of the same will be eligible to become a legal permanent resident through the adjustment of status process as long as the person complies with the requirements to do so.


Once it is in fact established that an individual is a victim of a qualifying crime, the applicant must establish that he or she was helpful in the criminal investigation. In order to prove this, the applicant must provide a police report regarding the qualifying crime. In addition to this, the applicant must also obtain a signature from a law enforcement officer on form I-918 Supplement B. This form signed by law enforcement certifies that the victim helped in the investigation of the crime.

The applicant also must prove that he or she suffered substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of being a victim of the qualifying crime. In order to prove that there was such harm, the applicant must provide copies of medical records for any medical treatment received in connection with the crime, photographs of injuries, and/or an evaluation from a psychologist.

Along with the U-Visa application, individuals will also need to file an I-192 waiver. This waiver will forgive illegal or unlawful presence in the United States, multiple illegal entries to the United States, and certain criminal convictions.

In certain circumstances, aggravated felonies may be waived if the conviction occurred before obtaining the I-918 B certification. However, even though an application for a waiver may be approvable, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services still has discretion in granting these waivers. The filing fee for the waiver is $585.

Our law firm has represented thousands of people who were victims of a crime and wished to adjust their status with immigration. A U-Visa is known as the process in which victims of violent crimes are eligible to adjust their status. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence are allowed to change their immigration status within the United States from nonimmigrant to immigrant when complying with certain requirements-Protection Act of 2000-the act also permits the U-Visa holder to become a legal permanent resident after three years of continuous physical presence and when they have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since receiving the U-Visa.

Depending on at what age the U-Visa application is filed; certain qualifying family members are eligible to be a derivative in the U-Visa. The persons who qualify for derivative U-Visas are:

  • Spouse if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
  • Children if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
  • Parents if the applicant is 21 years of age or older
  • Unmarried siblings under 18 years of age if the applicant is under 21 years of age

There is also a limit on how many U-Visas can be granted per year and that number is 10,000. With that being said, there is no limit or cap for family members deriving status from the principal applicant, such as spouses, children, or other eligible family members.

If the cap is reached before all U nonimmigrant petitions have been adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list for any eligible principal or derivative petitioners that are awaiting a final decision and a U-Visa. Petitioners placed on the waiting list will be granted deferred action or parole and are eligible to apply for work authorization while waiting for additional U-Visas to become available.

Once additional visas become available, those petitioners on the waiting list will receive their visa in the order in which their petition was received. Petitioners on the waiting list do not have to take any additional steps to request the U-Visa. USCIS will notify the petitioner of the approval and the accompanying U-Visa.


Here are the questions that must be asked in order to determine whether a person is eligible for a U-Visa

  1. How did you enter the United States?
  2. How long have you resided in the United States?
  3. Have you ever left the United States and if so, when and for how long?
  4. Have you ever been deported?
  5. Have you ever been caught crossing the border?
  6. Have you ever signed a voluntary departure?
  7. Have you ever been arrested for any crime?
  8. Have you ever been convicted of committing any crime?
  9. Are you a victim of a crime that occurred in the United States?
  10. Did you help law enforcement with investigating the crime (answering questions, calling the police, testifying in court)?

Please keep in mind that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is only authorized by Congress to grant 10,000 U-Visas per year. These cases thus can often take more than one year to be approved, as USCIS can reach the statutory cap very quickly and cannot approve more than 10,000 U-Visas per year.

Frequently Asked Questions for U-Visas

  • I was a victim of a crime, how can I get a U-Visa?

    If you have been a victim of a certain kind of crime, you may be eligible for a U-Visa. Not all crimes will qualify for U-Visa. Examples of qualifying crimes for U-Visa include: domestic violence, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, extortion, and murder. First, you must be helpful in the crime’s investigation. To prove this, you will need to provide a police report for the incident, and obtain certification from a law enforcement or judicial official certifying that you have been helpful in the crime’s investigation. The certification that you were helpful in the crime’s investigation will be signed by a government designated official on an immigration form. Our law firm can help you obtain the certification. You must also prove that you suffered physical or psychological harm as a result of being a victim of the crime, which can be shown by medical records, photos, psychological evaluations, and letters.

    There is a cap on the number of U-Visas that can be approved each year, which is set by Congress. USCIS may only approve 10,000 U-Visas per year for all of the United States. Due to the cap and the large number of people that apply, the current wait time to receive a U-Visa approval is approximately 4-5 years.

  • What is VAWA?

    VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act. You can apply for VAWA if you are a male or female. VAWA allows a person to file a petition for themselves based on being subject to extreme battery or cruelty during a marriage relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To qualify for VAWA, you must be married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, or have been legally married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder before getting divorced. If you are divorced, you may only apply for VAWA up to 2 years after the date you got divorced. You also must show that you suffered extreme battery or cruelty from your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. Common documents that can be gathered to prove this kind of abuse are: police reports, court records, restraining orders, medical records, psychological evaluations, letters of support, and a personal declaration from you describing the abuse. You must also show that you have been a person of good moral character for the last five years before you apply for VAWA. This means that you cannot have any criminal arrests, charges, or convictions over the last 5 years. There are exceptions that can be made if the crime you committed relates to the abuse you suffered.

    You may also be able to apply for a green card along with the VAWA self petition. In order to qualify to receive a green card, there cannot be anything on your criminal or immigration record that would keep you from becoming a resident. This means you must not have any prior deportation orders or a criminal history that would otherwise prevent you from being admissible. You also must have entered the country legally, or have entered the U.S. only one time illegally.

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