The U Visa is special visa for victims of certain crimes.
The U Visa is valid up to 4 years during which the U Visa holder receives a work authorization. Every year 10,000 visas are issued.
The family members of the victims of certain crimes can also be included on the U visa petition; if the principal petitioner is under the age of 21, this includes spouses, children, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18. If the principal petitioner is over the age of 21, he or she can only sponsor a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
A U Visa holder can do adjustment of status and become a permanent resident if certain requirements are met.
Applying for a U Visa
To apply for a U visa, applicants file Form I-918.
An eligible applicant for a U Visa must have been a victim of one of the crimes below. The criminal activity must have violated U.S. laws and must have occurred in the U.S. (including Indian country and military installations) or a U.S. territory or possession:
These are the eligibility requirements for the U visa.
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Abusive sexual contact
- Sexual exploitation
- Female genital mutilation
- Hostage situations
- False imprisonment
- Involuntary servitude
- Slave trade
- Unlawful criminal restraint
- Felonious assault
- Witness tampering
- Obstruction of justice
- Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes.
After it has been established that the applicant has been the victim of one of the above crimes in the U.S. or one of its territories and has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of it, the applicant must also fulfill the following requirements:
- The U Visa applicant must have information regarding the crime.
- The U Visa applicant must receive certification from a Federal, State or local government official stating that the applicant will help the investigation.
It is important that Form I-918 be accompanied with information on how the U visa applicant can assist U.S. government officials with the investigations on the crime. The certification can be withdrawn if the U visa holder stops cooperating with law enforcement.
Applying for Green Card with U Visa
U Visa holder may apply for a green card using Form I-485 if the following eligibiltiy requirements are met:
- Physically presence in the U.S. continuously for a period of at least 3 years since admission with U Visa.
- Has not refused to provide assistance in investigations.
- Has established residence in the U.S. is for humanitarian reasons, to promote family unity or is in the public interest.