A U visa is not a “visa” in the sense the term is usually used because it is actually obtainable within the United States. The purpose of the U visa is to give temporary immigration status to aliens who are victims of certain crimes committed in the United States. To qualify for a U visa, the applicant has to demonstrate that he or she was the victim of a qualifying crime, that he or she suffered substantial physical injuries or mental abuse as a result of the criminal activity, that he or she has information about the criminal activity, and that he or she was, is or will be helpful in the investigation of the criminal activity.
To apply for the U visa, or crime victim visa the applicant needs to submit Form I-918 to USCIS, along with supporting documents, as well as Form I-918 Supplement B. This is a certification in which a law enforcement official confirms that the person was or will likely be helpful in the prosecution of the criminal case. Additionally, the person needs to submit a statement in which he or she describes the criminal activity of which he or she was a victim and supporting evidence to demonstrate the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements.
Certain family members can also be included in the U visa application and can obtain immigration benefits. These include the applicant’s spouses, children, parents, and unmarried sisters and brothers under 18 years old. To petition for a qualified family member, the person must file a Form I-918, Supplement A, at the same time as the principal application or at a later date.
If the person applying for the U visa is subject to a ground of inadmissibility, it might be necessary to apply for a waiver by submitting Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to enter as a Non-immigrant.
If the application for the U visa is approved, the person is granted non-immigrant status in the United States, and can also obtain authorization to work, in the form of an Employment Authorization Document. People granted U visas may also be eligible to apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) three years after the initial approval.
Surowitz Immigration, P.C.’s U visa attorneys have a solid record of assisting individuals acquire successful Visa results. If you have questions about obtaining an U visa or would like more information, contact us today.