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Frequently Asked Questions about U-Visas

Frequently Asked Questions about U-Visas


Our attorneys frequently work with people who have questions about the requirements and process for obtaining a U-Visa. In this post, our immigration lawyers offer guidance on some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is a U-Visa?

This is especially for victims of certain crimes who have suffered significant mental or physical abuse (direct or indirect) and are willing to help law enforcement in the investigation of the crime.

What types of victims qualify for a U-Visa?

Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, incest, kidnapping, murder, prostitution, rape, and trafficking, among others, may qualify for a U-Visa.

Can the victim’s family member be included in the U-Visa petition?

Yes, you can include in the initial petition family members. If the victim is under 21 years old, they can request a visa for their spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents, and/or unmarried siblings under 18. If the victim is over 21 years old, they can request a visa for their spouse and/or unmarried children under 21.

For how long is the U-Visa valid?

It is valid for four years.

Can I be deported while my U-Visa case is pending?

It could happen, but it is not the general rule.

Can I become a Lawful Permanent Resident?

Yes, if you are approved for a U-Visa, you and your family members who are included in the petition have the right to apply for permanent residency by filing the I-485 Form. To obtain permanent residency, you must show you have been continuously present in the US for at least three years under the U-Visa status and that you have not refused to provide assistance to law enforcement.

Can I leave the US while I wait for the U-Visa approval?

It is not recommended. If you leave the country without permission, you may no longer be eligible to re-enter the US.

Can I leave the US after I receive the U-Visa?

It is not recommended. It may affect your process of obtaining permanent residency.

Can I file a U-Visa petition from abroad?

Yes, you will need to file all necessary forms for the U-Visa with the Vermont Service Center, have your fingerprints taken at the US embassy or consulate abroad, and if your petition is approved, you must attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate abroad.

Can I work in the United States under the U-Visa Status?

Yes, applicants who are approved for U-Visa will receive authorization to work automatically. Family members of the principal residing in the US can be authorized to work once the petition is approved, however, they should file Form- I 765 to obtain employment authorization. You have no permission to work while the U Visa is pending.

Should I pay filing fees?

There is no fee for filing a U-Visa application. But there is a fee to apply for permanent residency (I-485 Form), which currently ranges from $750 to $1225, depending on the applicant’s age. However, this fee may be waived. Also, there is a fee of $410 for family members who apply for work authorization (I-765 Form), which may be waived too.

Consult a Skilled Immigration Attorney

Like all US immigration benefits, the process to apply for and receive a U-Visa can be complex and difficult, but you don’t have to go through it on your own. Our experienced immigration attorneys have helped many families successfully achieve their immigration goals, and we may be able to help you, too. Please contact our office to request a review of your case.


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