What is U Non-Immigrant Visa?
The U Nonimmigrant visa is specifically for victims of crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse. These individuals must be willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation of the criminal activity. To petition for U Nonimmigrant status, Form I-918 is the form used to petition by the victim or a third party on behalf of the victim. A Federal, State or local government official can verify that the victim has been, is being, or will likely be helpful in the prosecution of the criminal act(s) of which he or she was a victim. A family member may also obtain U Nonimmigrant status using Form I-929.
Why You Should Talk to an Immigration Lawyer if you’re Pursuing a U-Visa
There are two main reasons having an experienced immigration lawyer on your side is beneficial if you are applying for a U-Visa. First, a lawyer is familiar with the process, forms, and evidence required to give you the best chance for success.. An attorney can also help you strategize your approach to filing for a U visa. Your goal should be to give yourself the best chance for a successful application. Talking to an informed and experienced attorney can accomplish this.
Contact an Experienced U Visa Attorney Today
How can one qualify?
You may be eligible for a U Non-Immigrant visa if:
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of being a victim of criminal activity.
- You have knowledge about the criminal activity.
- You are helpful, willing to be helpful or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- The crime occurred within the United States or violated the law of the United States.
- You are admissible to the United States. You may apply for a waiver on if you were not admissible.
How do I know if the crime I witnessed qualifies?
Qualifying Criminal Activities
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Felonious Assault
- Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trade
- Witness Tampering
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Other Related Crimes (crimes with the related elements)
What steps do I need to take to secure the U visa?
To apply for a U Non-Immigrant status, complete and submit:
- Form I-918
- Form -918 Supplement B, U Non-immigrant Status Certification. The Form has to be signed by and an authorized officer of the certifying law enforcement agency. This can include Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies; Federal, State, and local prosecutors’ offices Federal, State, and local Judges; Federal, State, and local Family Protective Services; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Federal and State Departments of Labor; and other investigative agencies. The certifying agent must state that you were helpful. They must state that you are currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the case. Without the certification, the applicant will not be eligible for the U Visa.
- If any inadmissibility issues are present, you must file a Form I-192 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant). This allows one to request a waiver for the inadmissibility
- A personal statement describing the criminal activity of which you were a victim
I have heard there is a CAP on these Visa’s? Is this true?
There is an annual Visa Cap.
- The limit on the number of U visas that may be granted to principal petitioners annually is 10,000. This cap does not extend to family members deriving status such as spouses, children, or other qualifying family members.
- If the cap is reached before all U nonimmigrant petitions have been reviewed, USCIS creates a waiting list for applicants who are waiting for a decision. Those on the waiting list can be granted deferred action and can get work authorization until a final decision is made and the U visa is available.
- Once additional visas become available, applicants on the waiting list will get a visa based on when their petition was received. They do not have to take more action to secure their Visa.
Can my family also get the U Visa?
Yes, certain qualifying family members can also get the U Visa. If you are under 21 years of age and the applicant, your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 may qualify. If you are over 21 years of age, your spouse and children may qualify.
Of course, the principal applicant’s petition must be first approved prior to the family securing their U Visa.
How long is the Visa Valid?
It is valid for 4 years, but there is a possibility of an extension. This visa is a non-immigrant visa. However you may apply for a green card after 4 years if you meet certain requirements. Please call me to discuss you options.
I have a U Visa. Some of my family members have derived the U Visa via me also. I am eligible for the green card. Will my family member qualify?
If the family member deriving status based on your status has met the requisites for a Green Card, they may apply for lawful permanent residence. They can file form I-485 on their own.
I am outside the US. May I petition for the U Visa?
You may qualify for the U Visa. An analysis would have to be done with regards to your circumstances. There would be some steps you would need to take:
- Complete and submit necessary forms for U Nonimmigrant status with the Vermont Service Center.
- Follow directions that are communicated by the Vermont Service Center. These instructions include having your fingerprints taken at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- If you are granted the U Visa, you must complete the consular process before entering the U.S. This will encompass an interview with the consular officer at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Each case is different. Feel free to contact me at 1-800-348-1370. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your case.