U Visa

Immigrants who have been the victims of a crime may qualify to receive a U Visa, which is a visa specially designed by the U.S. government to encourage crime victims to report the crime and cooperate with authorities in the investigation and prosecution of the criminal.  Not all crimes qualify the victim for a U Visa.  The crimes that qualify are generally those committed against the person directly, such as domestic violence, assault, rape and other sex-related crimes, human trafficking, etc.

How do I know if I qualify for a U Visa?

To qualify for a U Visa, the applicant must show that he or she:

  1. Is the victim of physical or mental abuse resulting from one of the qualifying crimes;
  2. Possesses information about the criminal activity;
  3. Has cooperated or is willing to cooperate with law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the criminal; and
  4. The crime occurred in the United States and/or violated the laws of the United States.

What is the procedure for applying for a U Visa?

The U Visa process consists of two major steps.  First, the immigrant victim of crime must seek certification from a federal, state, or local law enforcement official that the individual is, in fact, a victim of crime, and that he or she is willing to cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal.  The certification is provided by the law enforcement official signing off on a U Visa Nonimmigrant Status Certification (USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B).

Once the immigrant has obtained the certification, he or she must submit the actual application, which is Form I-918, as well as the Certification form and other required supporting evidence.

What benefits do I get from a U Visa?

U Visas are granted for up to four years, but with a possibility of an extension if the immigrant can obtain additional certification from a law enforcement agency.  U Visa grantees are granted a work permit, and may leave and re-enter the U.S.

In some situations, individuals who receive a U Visa and meet certain requirements may qualify for Permanent Residency (a Green Card) at the end of the visa period.

If I qualify for a U Visa, can I include by family members?

Most U Visa applicants can include their spouse, children, unmarried brothers and sisters, and parents as derivative beneficiaries of their visa application.

How long will I have to wait for my U Visa?

The United States only grants 10,000 U visa applications per year.  This means that once the government has issued 10,000 U visas in a given year, all additional U Visa applications will be put on hold until the next year.  This does not mean, however, that immigrants who qualify for a U Visa should wait until the next year to file the visa application.  U Visa individuals can still be filed this year, and will hopefully be among the first to be processed the next year.  Furthermore, applicants on the waiting list can apply for a work permit, and will likely be protected from deportation while they are waiting.

The attorneys at Deere Law, LLC take U Visa cases very seriously, and have taught multiple seminars and classes on U Visa law.  If you, or someone you know, are an immigrant and have been the victim of a crime, you should know your rights and whether you can take advantage of the U Visa laws to obtain legal status and a work permit.  Call us today at (719) 633-3377, or email us, to find out why the immigration attorney Josh Deere at Deere Law, LLC has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® in Immigration Law; a Superb, 10 out of 10 rating in Immigration Law, and a “Client’s Choice” award from Avvo, a national lawyer rating service; and a Colorado Springs’ TOP ATTORNEYS award by Colorado Springs Style Magazine.