U Visas: Validity, Benefits, and Application
Whether you’re an applicant, a supporter, or simply curious about the U visa, this article will illuminate key things you should be aware of, including the validity and extension of a U visa in the United States and their profound impact on the lives of vulnerable individuals. Discover how they:
- Grant noncitizen victims respite from the shadows of crime.
- Facilitate collaboration between law enforcement and survivors to combat injustice and seek resolution.
- Offer the gift of temporary relief, employment opportunities, and a chance to build a more secure future.
How Long Is A U Visa Valid For? Can It Be Extended Or Adjusted To Permanent Residency?
When a U nonimmigrant status is granted, it is initially valid for four years. Extensions are available for U visa holders if their initial admission period was less than four years. U visa holders can apply to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents (green card holders) after holding a U visa for at least three years and having continuously resided in the United States.
What Benefits And Protections Can A U Visa Provide Me?
Recipients of U visas enjoy several benefits and protections, including:
- Legal status for up to four years;
- Work authorization;
- Derivative benefits for qualifying family members;
- Eligibility to adjust status to lawful permanent residents after three years.
How Does A U Visa Differ From A T Visa?
The U visa differs from other visas available to victims of crimes, such as the T visa, in that U visa applicants need to prove they have suffered and have been helpful to a Law Enforcement Agency. Unlike T visa applicants, U visa applicants do not need to provide documentation of physical or mental abuse.
What Are The Steps In The U Visa Application Process?
The U visa application process is somewhat involved. There are many steps to it, including the following:
- Cooperate with law enforcement to gain the status of a victim.
- Request a certification. The certifying agency will decide whether to sign Form I-918B.
- Apply for a U visa with USCIS, including a signed Form I-918B.
- The USCIS will review the petition and may grant employment authorization.
- If you are not eligible for employment authorization, the USCIS will request more evidence and may place you on a waiting list.
- Wait for your visa to process as the USCIS reviews your petition and verifies your eligibility.
- If approved, it will issue your visa.
How Does A U Visa Holder Apply for Lawful Permanent Residency?
A U visa holder can apply for lawful permanent residency by submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to USCIS. It is worth noting that an individual in removal proceedings or with a final order of removal can still apply for a U visa.
What Is A “Waiver of Inadmissibility”? How Can I Apply For It?
The waiver, which may be granted at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, applies to any ground of inadmissibility except for specific serious crimes.
Do I Have Any Recourse If My Application Is Denied?
If your U visa application is denied, you may explore filing an appeal or submitting a new application addressing previous issues. Additionally, waiting for more U visas to become available may be necessary in certain situations.
Are There Any Advocacy Groups Or Legal Services That Assist U Visa Applicants?
There are advocacy groups like the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) that assist individuals in filing complaints concerning civil rights abuses. Additionally, numerous law firms specialize in helping individuals with U visa applications.
For more information on Validity & Extension Of A U-Visa In The US, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (305) 907-6151 today.