If the answer is “yes,” you may be eligible to apply for a U visa. A U visa is a non-immigrant visa that was created as a way to provide protection to victims of certain crimes and to encourage undocumented immigrants to assist with law enforcement efforts.
The primary requirement is that the victim cooperated with the police or other law enforcement by reporting the crime and being available to assist with the subsequent investigation and prosecution of the crime. However, the victim may still be eligible to apply for a U visa even if the suspect was never caught or prosecuted. An applicant must also show that he or she has suffered physically or emotionally as a result of the crime.
Not every crime qualifies, but a good immigration attorney can evaluate your case and help you get the help that you need. Even if the crime that you were a victim of is several years old, you should consult with an attorney to find out if you qualify to apply for a U visa.
What Crimes Qualify?
Generally, a U visa is for victims of violent crimes. These include domestic violence, felonious assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and sexual assault. Some crimes that do not include physical violence may also qualify. Your attorney can review the police report to help you understand if you have been the victim of a qualifying crime.
What Benefits will a U Visa Provide?
If your U visa application is approved, you will receive a nonimmigrant visa and work authorization valid for four years. You can also apply for some family members even if they are living outside the country. After three years with a U visa, you and your family members may apply to become Legal Permanent Residents.
Being victimized by a stranger or by a member of your own family can be a terrifying experience. There are many resources available to help you and your family find safety and recover from the harm that you have suffered. Obtaining legal status is one way that you can find greater independence and resources to help you protect yourself and create a more secure future. If you have been a victim of a crime, please call our office for a consultation so we can provide you with advice that addresses your personal situation.