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U VISA – VICTIMS OF SERIOUS CRIMES

The U visa is designed for immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who are the victims of certain serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator.

A foreign national is eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:

  • She or he is the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
  • She or he has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
  • An immigrant or his parent or guardian has information about the criminal activity.
  • She or he is assisting the law enforcement agency with information regarding the crime to help authorities to prosecute the criminal.
  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
  • She is admissible to the United States.
  • A waiver is available for persons inadmissible to the U.S. A waiver should be filed on  Form I-192, Application for AdvaAnce Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.


Criminal Activities approved by USCIS to qualify for U visa

  •  Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Felonious Assault
  • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Stalking
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Witness Tampering
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint

*Other similar criminal activities may be qualified. Also the list includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

To apply to U visa one should file Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS.

An immigrant can file Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant to get a permission  for inadmissible nonimmigrant aliens to temporarily enter the United States. usually Form I-192 and I-918 are filed together.

Green Card For Family members of U visa holders

The eligibility requirements for the U visa:

USCIS may grant permanent residency status to spouses, children, and parents to U Visa holders if:u visa

(1) The qualifying family member was never admitted to the U.S. in U non-immigrant status, and

(2) It is established that either the family member or the U-1 principal applicant would suffer extreme hardship if the qualifying family member is not allowed to remain in or be admitted to the U.S.

Procedure for applying for relatives:

The U-1 status holder must file an immigrant petition on the new Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Non-immigrant. If the I-929 is approved on their behalf, qualifying family members in the U.S. may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Qualifying family members outside the U.S. may visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain their immigrant visas.

How to apply for permanent residence (adjust status.)

One may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

  • She has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years while in U nonimmigrant status, and
  • She has not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since you received your U visa.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Can an immigrant who is now outside the United States but was the victim of a qualifying crime that occurred while the immigrant was in the United States apply for a U visa?

Yes. Immigrants, who are victims of a qualifying crime, and their family members, can apply for a U visa either from outside the United States, as long as the qualifying crime was committed while the immigrant was in the United States. The immigrant and family members should file for the U visa with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the immigrant’s country.

I am the victim of a crime with a deportation order issued by Immigration. Can I apply for a U-Visa? Once the U visa is approved you will need to file a motion to reopen the deportation order with the Immigration Court. Alternatively, if you are about to be ordered deported you must file a Stay to the deportation.

Is there a limit on the number of U Visas?

USCIS may grant no more than 10,000 U visas in any fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). The limit does not apply to spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings who are accompanying or following to join the principal alien victim

If the cap is reached in any fiscal year before all petitions are adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list. Applicants placed on the waiting list will be given deferred action relief and they  will be eligible to apply for employment authorization and permitted to travel until their petitions can be adjudicated after the start of the following fiscal year

How long can an immigrant have a U Visa?

U visa status cannot exceed four years. After three years an immigrant in U visa status can apply for adjustment of status (green card).

I received my green card as a victim of domestic violence. My ex-husband was a perpetrator. Our relationships improve over years. Can I reunite with my husband now?

You can reunite with your husband but your green card will be rescinded.