The U non-immigrant visa is for victims of certain crimes who suffered mental or physical abuse and who assisted law enforcement with the investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal case. You may qualify for the green card if you meet the following criteria:
You are the victim of one or more of the following “qualifying” crimes:
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Felonious Assault
- Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trade
- Witness Tampering
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Other Related Crimes*†
Any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit the above crimes also qualifies as a crime for which the victim may get a U visa. Crimes not listed above may qualify if the nature of the crime is similar to a crime on the list above.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as the victim of the “qualifying” crime.
- You have information about criminal activity. If you are a minor under 16, then a parent, guardian or friend may assist with the information on your behalf.
- You assisted law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are a minor under 16, then a parent, guardian or friend may assist on your behalf.
- The crime was in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible due to a previous crime or immigration violation, you may apply for a non-immigrant waiver.
The upside of this process is you can apply yourself by submitting the Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status with the completed and signed Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. The Supplement B form must be properly signed by a law enforcement official and an authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency. The supplemental form is verification that you will assist law enforcement with the investigation. If you are inadmissible then you must also include a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, to request a waiver of the inadmissibility. You should also include a personal statement describing your story as the victim of the crime and how it has affected you. Evidence is very important to prove you meet the eligibility criteria.
Applying Within the United States
If you are located in the United States, you would file the forms and evidence with the designated USCIS office to make a decision on this type of application. During the process, you should be on the lookout for any requests for more evidence, called RFEs. Failure to respond to these may cause a delay or denial of your application. This is where my services at ST Law Office can be pivotal to the success of an immigration visa application.
Before applying for the visa through this process, you should make sure there are no problematic issues. Each of the pieces of this process can get complicated. If you miss something or make mistakes, it could mean a delayed process or even a denial. It is important to tread carefully and be meticulous through this process.
Applying at the Embassy
If you are outside of the United States, you would file the petition with the designated office in the United States. If the petition is approved, the U.S. office will forward it to the National Visa Center for consular processing at the embassy in your home country. You would need to follow embassy instructions to apply for the non-immigrant visa. The embassy in your home country schedules the visa interview. The officer will review all documentation and your application at the interview and inform you of the decision at the interview. You are permitted to take your family members. If you are under 21, you may include your spouse, child(ren), parents and unmarried siblings under age 18. If you are over 21 years old, then only your spouse and child(ren) would be eligible as U visa derivatives. To petition for family members, you must also include Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient, at the same time as your application or at a later time.
There is a cap of 10,000 U visas per year. If the number of U visa applicants exceed the cap, then U visa applicants may be paroled or deferred and will be eligible to receive work authorization. Once the U visa is granted, it is valid for four (4) years.
When considering whether to go through with this type of visa application, it is important to take other circumstances and factors into consideration. Failing to do this may cause complications during the application process. For instance, any facts that involve previous denials, past immigration, and criminal violations, previous marriages that involved filings, entry with other types of visas, tax issues, visa overstays, and previous employment in the United States can be just as important as the basic eligibility criteria. A single criminal violation, whether a misdemeanor or more serious, or an immigration violation can lead you to be inadmissible to the United States, which may require additional steps to getting the visa, such as a waiver.
It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with your case. An attorney will assist with applying for the temporary labor certification, preparing the petition, assist with gathering evidence, and advocate vigorously for you during the process. Here at ST Law Office, I have dedicated my practice solely to immigration matters and have diverse experience surrounding these issues. I vigorously advocate no matter how simple or complicated the matter. Don’t hesitate to call us at 561-405-4889 or to schedule your initial phone, online or in-person consultation now.