Are you a foreign national who has been a victim of a violent crime in the United States? OR, is stress taking a toll on you with the possibility of leaving the country because your visa has already expired?
GOOD NEWS! This unfortunate circumstance can be overturned. In this article, I’ll go over the qualifications for an individual to qualify for a U visa.
What is a U Visa?
The U visa is a non-immigrant visa that is provided for victims of certain violent crimes who have suffered physical or mental harm. This allows a victim to stay in the United States legally for up to FOUR years. Even though it is a non-immigrant visa, you CAN apply for a green card after THREE years of holding a U Visa.
Who is Eligible for a U Visa?
To be eligible for a U Visa, you must meet all of the following:
You must have been a victim of a “qualifying criminal activity” which occurred in the United States or that violated U.S. law.
Here’s an additional fact: Did you know that in certain circumstances, even if you were a bystander at the event but believe you are a victim of criminal activity, you may be eligible for a U Visa? However, approval of these kinds of cases is difficult and comes down to the details.
You must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the criminal activity;
You must provide useful information about the criminal activity. Take note, that if you are unable to provide it yourself or are under the age of 16, someone else can do it on your behalf. Your parent, guardian, or “next friends” are examples of this (e.g., social worker or counselor).
You must cooperate with U.S. law enforcement authorities
You must be admissible to the United States. If not fill out Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant, to request a waiver.
You must have a Law Enforcement Certification. This is also known as Form I-918, Supplement B. Know that this is really hard to get. If you have questions or concerns about any of this, feel free to comment below, call us or visit our website and book an appointment.
What Criminal Activities are Qualified?
Criminal activities that qualify for a U Visa must take place in the United States. However, crimes committed abroad that violate any U.S. law may also qualify.
We have simplified the qualifying criminal activities into categories so that we can better understand which crimes can qualify under this visa.
Crime #1: Violent Crimes
This refers to criminal acts that have violently inflicted, harmed, or threatened a person. Examples of these are murder, manslaughter, felonious assault, and domestic violence. Domestic violence can cover a lot of bad actions, make sure it’s violent conduct in order to qualify.
Crime #2: Enslavement Crimes
Compared to the previous one, this refers to acts or activities that illegally enslave or imprison an individual. Some examples of these are criminal restraint, kidnapping, abduction, being held hostage, forced labor, slavery, human trafficking, indentured or debt servitude, or false imprisonment.
Crime #3: Sex Crimes
Crimes such as this refer to illegal sexual acts such as violence that occur during a sexual act, lack of consent, or when the one party is legally incapable of giving consent (e.g., a child)
Among such acts are rape, incest, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, or female genital mutilation.
Crime #4: Obstruction of Justice Crimes
This is a criminal act that obstructs the administration of justice and the functioning of the justice system. Examples of these include perjury, witness tampering, extortion, blackmail, or withholding evidence.
Crime #5: Foreign Labor Contracting Fraud
This crime includes any fraudulent acts related to recruiting, soliciting, or hiring someone outside the United States.
What are the Examples of these Fraudulent Acts?
These include fraudulent or false promises made by an employer to a prospective employee regarding wages, housing, or other employment conditions, or luring someone to the U.S. for a job under false pretenses.
However, take note. Uncompleted criminal activities may still qualify you for a U Visa. This means that even attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit one of the crimes mentioned above is sufficient.
Apply for a U Visa with a Reliable Immigration Attorney
If you find yourself in a situation where you are the victim of a criminal act, please do not hesitate to contact us to provide you with quality legal service in obtaining the help and justice you deserve.