The U non-immigrant status, known for short as U visa, is designed for victims of crimes who have experienced mental or physical abuse and who have provided help to police or government officials who are investigating or prosecuting criminals. Congress created the U non-immigrant visa when it passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October of 2000.
The goal of the legislation was to better allow law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual assault, domestic abuse and alien trafficking, while at the same time offering protection to victims of those crimes. Those victims who suffered high levels of mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime must be agree to aid law enforcement authorities who are investigating or prosecuting the criminal activity, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
There are certain conditions that must be met in order to have eligibility for a U non-immigrant visa. You may obtain a U visa if you:
- Are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to said criminal activity.
- Have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or cannot readily give information due to a disability, you may have a parent or guardian who possesses information about the crime to speak on your behalf.
- Are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- You are admissible to the United States. If not, you can apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
In addition, the crime must have occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
Applying for a U Visa
To apply for a U visa, you must offer the following:
- Form I-918 Petition for U Non-Immigrant Status
- The Form I-918, Supplement B, signed by an authorized official. In addition, the official must agree that you were indeed helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the case.
- If there are any inadmissibility issues present, you must request a waiver.
- A personal statement that outlines the criminal activity.
- Evidence that establishes each eligibility requirement.
Certain qualifying family members may have eligibility for a derivative U visa depending on their relationship to you, the one who is filing for the U visa. However, you must have approval for your U visa petition before family members can be eligible for their own.
All U non-immigrant status applications are free. Once granted, a U visa is good for four years. However, you may be able to file for an extension if requested by law enforcement, due to delays in processing or due to exceptional circumstances.
Contact D&N Law Group
Contact us here at D&N Law Group for a free initial consultation concerning a U visa or any other immigration matter. We serve Dallas County with affordable and effective representation.