U-Visa for Victims of Crimes
1. What is a U Visa?
It is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa for a victim of serious crimes who can show that he/she has assisted, is assisting, or will assist in the investigation or prosecution of crime.
2. What benefits does U visa give?
(1) Lawful status in the U.S.A. for 4 years, (2) Employment Authorization, (3) Possible to adjust status after 3 years, (4) Eligible for public benefits, and (5) Visas for derivative beneficiaries-qualifying family members.
3. What are the requirements for getting a U visa?
(1) Victim of a designated crime, (2) Has information about the crime, (3) Helpful in investigation or prosecution (such helpfulness must be certified by law enforcement), (4) Suffered substantial harm as result of a crime, (5) Must be admissible or have inadmissibility waiver.
4. Victims of which crimes qualify for this visa?
Rape, domestic violence, incest, prostitution, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury, female genital mutilation, hostage taking, torture, trafficking, peonage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, false imprisonment, blackmail, extortion. Petitioner can also qualify for a U visa if he/she is the victim of an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes, or any similar activity in violation of federal, state or local criminal law.
5. How is “victim” defined for this visa?
”Victim” can be either direct (i.e., a person who suffered direct and proximate harm) or indirect (certain family members if direct victim is deceased due to murder or manslaughter, or incapacitated or incompetent).
6. Which family members can get a visa through the U applicant?
U applicants who are 21 or over (at the time of filing the petition) can petition for their spouses and children under 21. U applicants who are under 21 (at the time of filing the petition) can petition for spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18. Derivative cannot have been a perpetrator.
7. Does the crime have to be prosecuted?
No, there is no such requirement. The petitioner must assist in either investigation or prosecution (i.e., an investigation is enough.)
8. What grounds of inadmissibility can be waived for this visa?
All grounds of inadmissibility may be waived for U nonimmigrant applicants except: nazi persecution, genocide, torture, extra-judicial killing. Waiver is discretionary.