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Victim of Qualifying Crime (U Visa)

Have you ever had to call the police on someone or witnessed a crime and helped the police out? If…

Have you ever had to call the police on someone or witnessed a crime and helped the police out? If you are a noncitizen living in the U.S., and you are either the victim or the witness of crime, then you may be eligible for a U visa. Qualifying crimes include serious ones such as abduction, kidnapping, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.

The United States enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000, to protect victims of specific crimes who assist in law enforcement investigations. The law includes the U Visa, which grants nonimmigrant status to crime victims or witnesses who cooperate with law enforcement in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators. Your family members may sometimes qualify for a derivative U Visa.

What are the U visa requirements?

If you are currently living in the U.S., you may apply for a U visa if you meet some basic requirements, such as the ones listed below:

  • You suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of a qualifying criminal activity that occurred in the U.S. or that violated U.S. laws
  • You can or will use the information that you have about the criminal activity to assist law enforcement
  • For noncitizens under age 16, or who are disabled, a parent or guardian may apply this on your behalf
  • You must be admissible to the U.S., or you must file a waiver of inadmissibility
  • You must have proof that you are the victim of, or a witness to, the crime

When you receive a U Visa, your nonimmigrant status will last for four years, and you will also be granted employment authorization. Certain qualifying circumstances may allow you to extend the visa, but you may also wish to apply for a green card instead. To qualify for a green card, you must demonstrate that you have lived in the U.S. for three continuous years as a U Visa holder. You must also prove that you have reasonably cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation.

The primary benefit of permanent resident status is that it will give you the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen. This process can be complex as it involves strict compliance with immigration laws and regulations, and it can take a considerable amount of time. Any error in the application can delay the process. Wherever you are in the immigration process, the qualified immigration attorneys at US Immigration Law Counsel are here to support you along your path to citizenship.

At US Immigration Law Counsel, we are committed to assisting crime victims in obtaining the protection they require. We can also determine if your family members are eligible to go through this process as well. Contact us to discover how we can help you obtain a U Visa.

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