U Visa – Relief for Victims of Crime

Who can apply for a U visa?

If you have been a victim of a crime, you may be eligible of a U visa. The benefit of a U Visa is that it leads to permanent residency (“green card”)and can often forgive previous immigration and criminal violations (i.e. crossing the border illegally).

What is U Visa?

The U visa is a special nonimmigrant visa that 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. 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. 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.

Who qualifies for a U Visa?

To qualify for a U visa, you must meet the following requirements:
  1. Be the victim of one or more criminal activities. These criminal activities include but not limited to: * Rape; * Torture; * Trafficking; * Stalking; * Incest; * Domestic violence; * Sexual assault; * Abusive sexual conduct; * Prostitution; * Sexual exploitation; * Femle genital mutilation; * Being held hostage; * Peonage; * Involuntary servitude; * Slave trade; * Fraud in foreign labor contracting; * Kidnapping; * Abduction; * Unlawful ciminal restraint; * False imprisonment; * Blackmail; * Extortion; * Manslaughter; * Murder; * Felonious assault; * Witness tampering; * Obstruction of Justic; * Perjury; * Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above; or * Other related crimes.
  2. Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime;
  3. The crime occurred in the United States or the territories and possessions of the United States, or violated U.S. laws;
  4. Have information about the crime;
  5. Have been, you are being or you are likely to be helpful in assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of said crime; and,
  6. Eligible to apply for entry into the United States, or to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.

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. If you are looking to file a U Visa and seeking an experienced immigration lawyer to represent you, please contact the Cipolla Law Group.