Many visas for entry into the United States revolve around employment and temporary visitation for specific purposes. U visas, by contrast, are in many ways similar to asylum status; if someone has been a victim of a qualifying crime and assists law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution of the criminals, they may be eligible for a U visa. Just because someone has been the victim of a crime does not necessarily qualify them for a U visa, however; only certain illegal activities qualify.
Eligibility & Requirement For U Visas
The crimes that most commonly qualify for eligibility related to U visa cases are abduction, domestic violence, hostage, extortion, blackmail, perjury, rape, prostitution, and other sexual abuse such as exploitation, trafficking, torture, incest, female genital mutilation, and slave trade. Some other areas also qualify, including manslaughter, fraud in foreign labor contracting, and witness tampering, among others.
Who Is Considered Eligible?
If you are a victim of a qualifying crime such as these, you may be eligible to receive a U visa. In the visa petition, you must prove that the crime caused physical or mental harm and that you possessed and were willing to provide information to law enforcement regarding the crime in order to assist in resolving the case.
The crime must have broken US laws or occurred within the United States, and even if all of these factors are true, an applicant must still be normally admissible to the US. In other words, criteria for inadmissibility (such as having committed felonies) may still disqualify someone who otherwise may receive a U visa. If the applicant is non-admissible, a U visa can still be pursued concurrent with seeking a waiver to overcome the admissibility issue.
Types Of U Visas
U visa holders are granted legal status within the United States and may receive employment authorization. Some may even choose to go on to pursue citizenship.
There are four types of U visas available. U-1 visas are the primary category, as they are intended for the victim of the qualifying crime.
U-2 visas are designed for the spouses of U-1 visa holders. A U-2 spouse cannot file an application on their own; rather, their spouse must petition on their behalf.
U-3 visas are similar to U-2 visas except that the qualifying party is the child of a U-1 applicant—as long as the U-1 visa holder is 21 years of age or older. U-3 visa holders may petition for permanent residency after three years.
U-4 visas are given to the parents of a U-1 applicant if the victim of the qualifying crime is under 21 years of age. U-4 visas are intended for the parents of children victims.
Get In Touch With A Non-Immigrant Visa Attorney Today
Compiling a thorough petition after a difficult experience as the victim of a crime can be difficult. That is why working with an experienced attorney can make the process easier and more likely to succeed. An attorney will always be on your side, and ensure you understand the process fully along the way. Get in touch with The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC to discuss your situation and begin the application process for a U visa by calling 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online.