The U-visa, also known as the U nonimmigrant visa or U nonimmigrant status, has been available in the United States since October of 2000. U visas are available for individuals who have experienced mental or physical abuse and have been a victim of certain qualifying crimes, which we outline below. Individuals must have played an active part in the investigation of law enforcement officials, or the prosecution of criminal activity.

The main purpose of U-visas is to encourage victims to cooperate with government and law enforcement officials while also providing the protection victims of crime and their families need. Family members of U-visa holders can apply for a U-2, U-3, or U-4 visa. Individuals who obtain a U-visa can eventually apply for a green card, but they can also remain in the United States on a U-visa for up to four years.

U-Visa Eligibility

To obtain a U-visa, you must meet certain requirements. These are as follows:

  • You must have been the victim of a crime that qualifies for a U-visa
  • You must have experienced mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime
  • You must have already been helpful, are currently being helpful, or deemed likely to be helpful by certification during a criminal prosecution or investigation
  • The alleged criminal offense occurred in the United States or was considered a violation of U.S. laws while outside of the country

When the victim of the crime is younger than 16 years old or is unable to provide information because of a disability, the parent, guardian, or “next friend” of the minor may provide information on their behalf.

Qualifying Crimes for U-Visa Eligibility

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act specifically outlines 28 criminal offenses that qualify for U-visa status. These offenses include:

  • Abusive sexual contact
  • Abduction
  • Extortion
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic violence
  • Female genital mutilation
  • False imprisonment
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting
  • Felonious assault
  • Hostage-taking
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Incest
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Kidnapping
  • Perjury
  • Peonage
  • Rape
  • Prostitution
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sexual assault
  • Torture
  • Stalking
  • Slave trade
  • Witness tampering
  • Unlawful criminal restraint

An Attorney can Assist You in Obtaining Police Certification of a Qualifying Crime

As part of the application process, you must have the police agency you are cooperating with certify the crime to acquire the U visa Certification B. The federal, state, or local law enforcement agency involved in your case will complete Form I-918 Supplement B for a victim who is petitioning for a U visa. This document is a vital part of the U visa process as it provides evidence that a qualifying crime occurred, and that the victim was cooperative with prosecution. Your immigration attorney can provide effective, timely communication with any necessary law enforcement agencies to help you obtain a U visa Certification B.

Our Immigration Lawyer in Illinois Can Help with Your Application

If you have been the victim of certain crimes and are seeking immigrant status in the United States, you may be eligible for a U-Visa. At Sverdloff Law Group, our Illinois immigration lawyer can advise on whether you qualify and help you through every step of the process. Call us today or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about your legal options.

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