Have You Been the Victim of a Crime?

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.

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Parole In Place

On November 15, 2013, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced an important change in policy that will help many families who have a family member who is currently in the military or is a veteran. A Policy Memorandum of that date permits “parole in place” (“PIP”) to the spouses, children and parents of active duty military personnel, reserve members and veterans who are physically present in the US without inspection or admission. The most important part of this change is that individuals who are granted PIP may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status if they are a spouse, parent or single child under the age of 21 of a US citizen.

To apply for PIP, an applicant must submit an application packet at the local USCIS Field Office. The packet should include the following:

  • Form I-131, Application for a Travel document.  No filing fee is required.
  • Evidence of the family relationship between the applicant and the military family member.
  • Evidence that the applicant’s family member is an Active Duty member of the US Armed Forces, individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or an individual who previously served in the US Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
  • Two identical color passport style photographs.
  • Evidence of any additional favorable discretionary factors.

As in all applications with USCIS, it is important that an individual be sure that he or she is eligible for this benefit.  This requires a careful review of the potential applicant’s immigration and criminal background.  If you are eligible, this change may be just what you have been waiting for in order to legalize your status.  We are available to review your situation and to represent you in this process if you are eligible.

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