Disclaimer: The information below is a basic explanation of the U-Visa and is not legal advice. Each immigration case is different based on a person’s individual immigration, family, and criminal history.
Certain people who are victims of crimes may be eligible for a U Nonimmigrant Visa. The Purpose of the U Visa is to give victims courage to report their victimization to law enforcement by offering them temporary legal status in the United States and work authorization. U Visas may also be available to parents of minor U.S. Citizen Children who were victimized, or bystanders who witnessed a particularly traumatic crime.
Only certain types of crimes make a person eligible for the U-Visa process. These crimes may include, but are not limited to: domestic violence; assault and battery; robbery; child abuse; sexual assault; rape; sexual exploitation; murder; manslaughter; aggravated discharge of a firearm; kidnapping; torture; abduction; blackmail; false imprisonment; incest; and other similar crimes.
The Applicant for a U Visa must prove that they (1)they were a victim of a crime and have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from the criminal activity; (2) have information regarding the criminal activity; (3) have assisted in the investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal activity; and (4) the criminal activity occurred in the United States. A certification from a law enforcement agency confirming that the Applicant was a victim of a crime and helpful in the investigation or prosecution of his/her case must also be filed along with an Application for a U Visa.
Some family members may also be included on the petition as derivative applicants. Currently, a victim may petition for a derivative spouse, child under the age of 21, parent (if the victim is under the age of 21), and unmarried siblings under the age of 18.
After having 3 years of U Visa status and continuous physical presence in the United States, the Applicant and his/her derivative family members can apply for Adjustment of Status in order to become Permanent Residents.
Being granted a U Visa does not give a person freedom to travel outside of the United States. All persons holding U-Nonimmigrant Status should wait until they are granted Permanent Resident Status before they travel.
For advice specific to your case, please call Dady & Hoffmann LLC at (815) 394-1359 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.