The United States allows immigrants who are victims of certain serious crimes to apply for a U-Visa. The U Visa provides a protection from deportation and work permit. It was created in 2000 as part of a bill that allows immigrants to testify against criminals without being deported. Find out how a U-Visa can benefit you and what qualified crimes fall into this category.
Do you want to learn more about U-Visa? At Brudner Law, we can provide you with all the information to guide you through the application process.
The U-Visa is a special type of visa available to victims of certain crimes who agree to assist law enforcement officials. It provides temporary legal status to victims of specific crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse at the hands of their abusers and are willing to help law enforcement officials investigate or prosecute these crimes. The U-Visa aims to improve relations between law enforcement agencies and immigrant communities by encouraging crime victims to come forward.
Unfortunately, many applicants wait years for their U Visa applications to be approved. In response to a large waiting list for U-Visas, the government has changed the rules for applicants. Now applicants wait in the United States instead of their home countries. While they wait for their U-Visas, the government grants them temporary status.
A U-Visa allows a person to live in the country legally for up to four years. If a person has held a U-Visa for three years, they can apply for a green card, which can eventually lead to legal resident status.
These types of visas are very beneficial and can help applicants begin the process of citizenship. Some of the benefits include:
A U-Visa does offer a pathway to citizenship. To become a US citizen, applying for citizenship through the adjustment of status process is necessary. After spending five years in the United States as a resident and meeting all the essential requirements, an individual may apply for citizenship.
However, there are a few limitations with a U-Visa, they include:
To get a U-Visa, an immigrant must prove they've suffered physical or emotional harm because of a crime committed against them. To obtain the visa, the applicant must have a certificate showing they have assisted in an investigation from an approved government agency and show proof of their status as an immigrant victim. Someone previously ruled inadmissible can still seek a certificate of helpfulness. They must apply for a waiver to cancel their previous ruling.
The eligibility for getting a certificate of helpfulness includes:
If the victim meets certain criteria, they can fill out the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant, Form-192. With approval, it can grant them U-Visa status.
To be eligible for a Certificate of Helpfulness, an applicant must provide evidence of serious mental or physical harm. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assesses three factors in determining whether the suffering was severe:
The following are some of the crimes that can qualify a person for a U-Visa:
The activities that qualify for the U-Visa include, but are not limited to, these qualifying activities. Any other crime of a similar nature is also included.
The U-Visa is free of charge, but relatives of the applicant who wish to apply for adjustment of status must file Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Relatives of a U-1 Non-immigrant. This costs $230 (this is subject to change, so please check on the USCIS website before filing). If the relative cannot afford this fee, they may qualify for a waiver by filing Form I-912, Petition for Fee Waiver.
Related: How To Maintain Your Green Card
There are several steps in the U-Visa application process. All applicants must file through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Here are the steps:
Only a limited group of individuals can qualify for a U-Visa. There are strict requirements. Many times, these visas can lead to citizenship in the United States. If you want to learn more about these visas, contact an experienced immigration attorney.
Do I need an immigration attorney to help with this process? At Brudner Law, we can help you apply for U-Visa and answer any questions about the application and immigration process.