U Visas or green cards are tailor-made for nonimmigrant victims of certain crimes who have in the past suffered or are still suffering from mental or physical abuse. In as much as crime victims can qualify for a specific green card but they must possess U nonimmigrant status.
A U visa lawyer can assist you if you have been a victim of a crime, their responsibility is to review your situation to know if you are qualified for a U visa and assist you through the process of obtaining a U visa.
What is the meaning of a U Visa?
Those who are eligible for the U nonimmigrant visa are victims of specified mental or physical abuse and those that are able to assist the United States law enforcement or government in prosecuting criminal activities.
This visa was launched in October 2000 by congress. The aim of establishing this visa was to enable victims of sex crimes like human trafficking, physical abuse, sexual assault, and other violent crimes to report to law enforcement authorities.
This is because most times, victims and survivors of such crimes do not feel safe reporting to authorities because they are afraid of deportation or detainment. Another interesting fact is that such victims are mostly undocumented immigrants who do not have legal immigrant status, thereby making it more difficult for them to approach the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This is why they are the easy target of criminals because they feel they can do anything with them and get away with it. So, having launched this U nonimmigrant visa, victims can feel safe to report to law enforcement so justice can take place.
Who is eligible for a U Visa?
For you to be qualified for a U Nonimmigrant Visa, below are the requirements you must meet:
- The first is that you must in the past or presently be a victim of criminal activities authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- The second is that your victimization in a crime must involve suffering evident physical or mental abuse
- The third is that you must give information concerning the criminal activity of which you were a victim. Nevertheless, if you are below the age of 16, a close third party can provide the information about the crime on your behalf
- The fourth is that you must be willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime
- The fish is that the crime that happened to you must have occurred on the United States soil or broke U.S. law
- The third is that you are permitted to enter the United States. In a case whereby you are not, talk to your U visa lawyer on steps to take.
What are the criminal activities that are qualified?
We have listed a wide range of crimes below such that if you have been a victim of any of them, you can seek the advice of your u visa experienced lawyer to know how to go about your U visa application:
- Crimes pertaining to abduction
- Abusive sexual contact
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment
- Female genital mutilation
- Involuntary servitude
- Sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Slave trade
- Unlawful criminal restraints
- Other similar crimes to the aforementioned.
What are the certifications for applicants of U Visa?
You will require a law enforcement certification for you to apply for the U nonimmigrant visa, and you will need to complete Form I-918B for you to complete this process. It is the form that will serve as proof that you are not just a victim of a qualifying crime but also ready to work towards the investigation and/or prosecution of that crime.
In addition to this, the offender does not need to be convicted for the crime before you can be qualified for a U visa or finish the USCIS form, and it is not compulsory for the form to be signed by a member of the law enforcement agency.
Nevertheless, the law enforcement who signs your certificate could be from the state, town, or district, and note that a lot of law enforcement agencies will incorporate hurdles in their policies that will not permit you to be eligible depending on location.
How do you go about this? You should also consult a professional immigration attorney that will assist you to navigate the potential barriers that could hinder you from obtaining a U visa.
What is the importance of the U Visa to victims?
There are numerous benefits you can gain if you succeed in obtaining a U visa and they include:
- You will be issued a temporary immigration status for family members who are qualified
- You will be issued a temporary immigration status with work authorization
- It is very possible for your status to be upgraded to the status of a permanent residence.
With all that we have stated, you should know that the U visa is also a pathway to citizenship. Also, note that your temporary permanent residence is valid for 4 years, and upon the expiration of your third year as a U visa holder, you can talk to your U visa attorney concerning the eligibility of your green card, also do the same when you are willing to apply for your Legal Permanent Residency.
What about the spouses and Children of U nonimmigrant status?
U-2 visas for spouses, U-3 for children, and U-4 for parents have been made available to family members of nonimmigrants who are eligible for U visas.
How can you apply for a U Visa (Green Card)?
For you to be eligible for a U visa, you must complete a Form I-918, Petition for U nonimmigrant status, then the B portion of the form is meant to be signed by an authorized service as we earlier discussed which proves that you have been, and will be of assistance to the government of United States.
In a case whereby you are not in the United States, you should speak with a U visa attorney to help you on how to go about it.
All about U visa adjustment of status
If you desire to be eligible to upgrade your U nonimmigrant status, you must meet the requirements listed below:
- You have to provide Form I-485 which is the application necessary for the registration of permanent residence.
- You have to be admitted into the United States legally U
- You must have been in the United States continuously for a minimum of three years since you were issued a U nonimmigrant visa.
- Your presence in the U.S must be considered good for the interest of the public, unity of the family, and humanitarian standard
There is a certain set of people that are termed inadmissible because such people have participated in events like genocide, Nazi persecution, or any form of killing or torture. If you fall under any of these categories, you can talk to your U visa lawyer to provide you with options concerning filing Form I-192.
Finally, you have known all about U-visa, how to apply, crimes that are under the U-visa benefits attached to this visa, and why you may be termed inadmissible. If you are a crime victim, this visa was tailor-made for you, it’s time for you to speak up.