Helping Crime Victims Obtain a U Visa
If you were the victim of certain types of crime and have information that could be useful to police or other law enforcement officials, you may be eligible for a special U visa. The U nonimmigrant status visa remains valid for up to four years and can be extended. Holders of a U visa may be eligible to apply for a green card. Family members may also be able to obtain a visa.
At the office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we can review your circumstances to determine whether you may be eligible for a U visa. If you are, we will work with you throughout the application process to present the best available evidence to demonstrate your qualifications and to advocate on your behalf to achieve a positive outcome.
Eligibility for a U Visa
U visas are designed to protect crime victims and to help law enforcement officials stop further criminal activity. To receive a U visa, you must show that you:
- Have been the victim of “qualifying” criminal activity
- Suffered from criminal activity that occurred either in the U.S. or violated U.S. laws
- Have suffered mental or physical abuse that is considered “substantial” because of the criminal activity
- Know information about the criminal activity (victims who are under age 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability may qualify if a parent or guardian has information)
- Can be helpful (or have already provided assistance) to law enforcement investigations or prosecution of the criminal activity. (Victims who are young or disabled may have someone else provide assistance on their behalf)
A U visa applicant must also meet the standards for admissibility. If they do not, they may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility and present evidence to show why a waiver is justified in their situation.
What is a “Qualifying” Criminal Activity?
The U.S. government describes approximately 30 distinct crimes that qualify a victim to seek a U visa. In addition, conspiracy to commit one of these crimes or solicitation to commit a qualifying crime is itself a qualifying criminal activity. The full list may be found in Section 214.14 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Crimes that are similar to the ones listed can also be treated as qualifying criminal activity.
Generally speaking, criminal activity is considered qualifying if involves significant abuse such as sexual assault, incest, or felony assault, if it denies freedom, such as kidnapping, being compelled to work to pay off a debt, and offenses associated with human trafficking, or if it may be connected with large-scale criminal operations such as obstruction of justice and fraud in foreign labor contracting. An immigration lawyer could review the criminal activity connected with your case to determine whether it may qualify.
Find Out Whether an Experienced U Visa Lawyer could Help You Obtain a Visa
U visas are only granted in a limited number each year, so it is important to document your eligibility very carefully to show why you should be granted a visa under this program. At the law office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we know how to fight for victim’s rights effectively and we are dedicated to helping you succeed with your immigration goals. To learn more about how we could help, schedule a consultation today.