Every fiscal year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has the ability to approve 10,000 petitions for U-1 nonimmigrant status. According to the official USCIS website, they have reached the statutory maximum for the fifth straight fiscal year. This means that 10,000 people qualified for a visa this past year by assisting the law enforcement community to investigate and prosecute crimes. Do you know someone who could likewise benefit from this visa and its accompanying work permit? If so, call our office at (213) 375-4084 for a confidential consultation.
The U visa program was finally implemented in 2010 to encourage immigrants to assist the authorities in certain qualifying crimes, such as assaults, blackmail, false imprisonment or kidnapping, perjury, sexual assault, domestic violence, and a long list of other crimes and related crimes. Those who willingly aid the police have an opportunity to receive a visa to stay in the country as well as work authorization. It is also a path to permanent residency after three years and citizenship after that. Even people with criminal records or past immigration problems can qualify.
Just because the USCIS reached the 10,000 cap, it does not mean that they will stop reviewing petitions for eligibility. In fact, any eligible applicants who did not receive a U visa because the USCIS reached the statutory cap will automatically roll-over for the new year beginning October 1, 2014.
If you are the victim of abduction, incest, sexual assault, torture, trafficking, extortion, rape, or another serious crime, you may be eligible for a U visa. You must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse and you must have information concerning the criminal activity that can help in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you want to find out if you are eligible, call our office at (213) 375-4084 to get your questions answered.