The U nonimmigrant visa, or U visa, was established as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This visa allows witnesses and victims of certain kinds of crimes to apply for temporary nonimmigrant status, and it creates a path towards legal permanent residency.
To be eligible for the U visa, individuals must meet six criteria.
The first of these criteria is being the victim of a qualifying criminal activity, which can include:
- Abusive sexual contact
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment
- Felonious assault
- Female genital mutilation
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting
- Involuntary servitude
- Obstruction of justice
- Sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Slave trade
- Unlawful criminal restraint
- Witness tampering
Second, the victim must have also suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a direct result of the crime.
Third, the victim must have information related to the crime.
This information may prove important to the fourth point: The victim must be willing to help law enforcement or government officials who are investigating or prosecuting the crime.
Through this assistance, the victim will receive certification from the police, prosecutor, or judge working on the case. This documents that the victim was helpful to the investigation.
Additionally, and as part of the fifth point, the crime must have occurred on U.S. soil, or otherwise violate U.S. law.
Finally, the U visa applicant must be admissible into the U.S. under current U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
Anyone not currently admissible can apply for a waiver as part of Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
The best way to determine your eligibility is to contact Belmonte Law Firm. We can schedule a free consultation with an immigration attorney to discuss your situation and figure out your next steps.