If you were the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for a U visa, which would provide you temporary nonimmigrant status in the United States. The U visa was created among growing public safety concerns and to encourage individuals who have been crime victims to cooperate with law enforcement in prosecuting criminals. If you are approved for a U visa, you will be given legal status in the U.S. with the potential for extensions. Once you have your U visa for three years, you may be able to apply for a green card.
To obtain a U visa, it is not enough to simply state that you were the victim of a crime. You must provide a “certificate of helpfulness” from a government agency and show that you suffered mental or physical abuse by a U.S. perpetrator.
You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a U visa:
Typically, an applicant for a U visa has been a victim of a crime in the United States. However, sometimes, the crime violated U.S. laws but took place overseas. For example, trafficking and kidnapping may constitute qualifying crimes. Examples of other qualifying crimes include:
The crime does not have to be “completed” in order for it to qualify. For example, if you are the victim of attempted murder, you may qualify for a U visa.
Being the victim of a qualifying crime is not enough. You must also demonstrate that, as a result of the crime, you sustained substantial physical or mental abuse. Medical records and affidavits can be used to support your claim. You should also provide a personal statement detailing the harm you have suffered.
If you’ve been the victim of a crime and want to explore your immigration options, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have experience helping crime victims obtain visas, and we would like to help you. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.