U Visa Immigration Lawyer Chicago
The U visa is a very powerful immigration category for crime victims and family members inside and outside the United States. It is a non-immigration visa that will ultimately lead to a permanent residency (green card).
U Visa is a form of humanitarian relief for victims of certain crimes. It is an ideal immigration option if you are or were a victim of crime and willing to cooperate with the police or court. U visa is specifically for undocumented immigrants who are otherwise inadmissible such as entering the United States without inspection, false claims to US Citizenship, crimes of moral turpitude, misrepresentation issues, among other serious immigration violations.
Law relating to U Visa
Congress created this special visa category with the passing of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. There are 10,000 visa numbers available in this category per year. Although certain qualifying
family members are eligible for a derivative U visa but do not count against the annual cap.
How do you qualify for a U Visa?
To qualify for a U visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be the victim of one or more criminal activities. These criminal activities include but not limited to:
- 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*
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are largely similar.
- Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime;
- The crime occurred in the United States or the territories and possessions of the United States, or violated U.S. laws;
- Have information about the crime;
- Have been or you are likely to be helpful in assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of said crime; and
- Eligible to apply for entry into the United States, or to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.
Is U Visa a Green Card?
U Visa can lead to permanent residency (“green card”). That is why it is such as powerful immigration relief for victims of crimes in the United States. By applying for a U visa, your previous immigration and criminal violations (i.e. crossing the border illegally) would often be forgiven as well.
U Visa Requirements
When filing for a U visa, it is necessary to supply a signed certification from an authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency. The official must confirm that you are indeed the victim of a crime, and that you have been, you are being or you are likely to be cooperating with the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
In addition, you will provide a personal statement describing the crime and any additional evidence available to support each eligibility requirement.
After three years on U visa status, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence (a “green card”), provided that you have had continuous presence in the U.S. for at least 3 years since admission, have not left the U.S. for more than 90 days, and have complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement.
What are the benefits of U visa?
If you are eligible for a U visa, there are many benefits that you can enjoy once you obtain a U visa status. Upon approval of your U visa, you will be able to work and live in the United States legally. After 3 years of being in a U visa status, you can apply for permanent residence (green card).
Another benefit of this special non-immigrant visa is that it grants temporary status to eligible victims of certain crimes, if the victim cooperates with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
Finally, U visas may include status for your spouse and child if you are over 21 years old, and can also include your parents if you are under 21.
Hire an experienced Chicago U Visa Immigration Attorney
As an experienced and diverse Chicago Immigration law firm, we have successfully assisted numerous U Visa victims to legally live in the U.S. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation. Our Chicago U visa lawyers speak Spanish, Chinese and Farsi.